Sunday January 23, 2022

President’s son inks Rs4.4 bn deal with US firm: Alvi regrets using Governor’s House as venue

December 01, 2021
President’s son inks Rs4.4 bn deal with US firm: Alvi regrets using Governor’s House as venue

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi’s son Dr Awab Alvi says signing of a $25 million, or Rs4.4 billion, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Alvi Dental Clinic and Bringing Smiles USA to open a chain of dental practices to Pakistan is not a case of conflict of interest.

When contacted, Dr Awab Alvi told The News that the president has now nothing to do with the clinic as he resigned from it when he became the president of Pakistan. “I am its sole proprietor.”

When pointed out that a photograph has also been attached with one of his tweets that showed the president, the first lady and others witnessing the MoU signing ceremony, Dr Awab gave a generalized reply that the parents have to be in attendance to share joyous and sorrowful occasions of their children.

Dr Awab was told that the president’s presence carried its own weight when his son was inking the MoU, to which he said this was a “negative connotation, spin”. However, he quickly realized his out of place remark and regretted it when pointed out that what he claimed was his flight of imagination. He said the idea should be lauded. He was appreciative of the fact that he has been approached by The News for his version.

Dr Awab was also told that once President Pervez Musharraf was questioned about the lucrative job his son, Bilal, had got abroad, and he had stated that the boy got it on merit. But he was told that Bilal had written his [Pervez Musharraf] name in place of his father while applying for the employment which was more than sufficient for his recruitment.

In a tweet on Monday, President Alvi said: Congratulations @DrAwab Wish you success in this collaboration with your friends who are also bringing in foreign investment. On Tuesday, the president tweeted: for the signing ceremony of an MOU between Dr Awab and his friend in my presence, the venue selection was a matter of poor judgment.

In a tweet that he later deleted due to reaction on some Whatsapp groups, Dr Awab had written: Excited to share we signed an MoU between at Alvi Dental and Bringing Smiles USA to open a chain of dental practices bring affordable dental care to Pakistan with no compromise in quality of treatment of sterilization. An initial pledge of $25 million has been committed by investors.

In a series of tweets, the son also said: “the President resigned from Alvi Dental when he became President This venture is between me & my Pakistani US diaspora dentist-alumnus friend President encourages all startups much smaller than ours & is on record to have hosted a startup in dentistry at Presidency last yr .. and he continues to support any startup which helps Pakistan His love for dentistry will not end whether it is toothbrushing directions from the Presidential office or his effort for international standard quality dental care in Pakistan...The venue originally selected was Alvi Dental but to avoid inconvenience because of security to APS school right next to us, it was changed. In retrospect we could have avoided it But any catering that was done was paid by me personally”.

A number of people offered comments on Dr Awab Alvi’s MoU: Clarification is no[t] in line with the principle of Imran Khan and his famous quotes so Rejected; Will the president attend business ceremony of every Pakistani like this? Will I have permission to hold such a ceremony at the governor house? Has not a single rupee from the income of Alvi Dental Clinic been spent on Arif Alvi since he became the president? What is conflict of interest in your view?... This was such an irresponsible and damaging particptn [sic]. Wish u hd calculated and thought through it before getting him involved Super disappointed. Pls ask a communication expert to advise on his remarks regarding this event, for damage control. Sorry but your status doesn’t help; How you could utilise a public office for your personal business[?]”.

The signing of the MoU was a hot topic of discussion on Whatsapp groups of which prominent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) figures including Dr Awab Alvi are also part. Hardly any laudatory comments appeared.

Bringing Smiles says it is a community driven charity that is dedicated in its mission to educate and enlighten children on the benefits of education and healthy lifestyles. It states its goal is planning on providing help and support to children in the areas of education, lifestyle improvement and health, we have impacted thousands of young minds in the US and India and are aiming to reach 100,000 young minds by 2021.