Desis Make Waves in Cricket, the Prison and in Medicare

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: In a continuation of the impact that desis are having on their adopted country, here are three more people who have surfaced in news stories recently.

Seema Verma
Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed patient information portability rules meant to improve care for patients and help providers. Just this week she has proposed changes in the way that Medicare pays doctors for office visits, offering physicians the same amount regardless of the patient’s condition of complexity of services provided, a proposal that she has come under fire for from most practitioners. Under this rule, patients would pay one rate for new patients and a lower rate for established patients.

Born in Virginia, and her husband Sanjay, a child psychiatrist who runs a medical practice through the Indiana Health Group, live in Carmel, Indiana with their two children. She received her bachelor’s in life sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1993 and a master’s in public health with a concentration in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1996. She was confirmed in her current position on March 13, 2017.

Tanweer Ahmed
Tanweer Ahmed, 50, has quietly been building a cricketer’s destination on 86-acres near Prairie View A&M University off US 290 north on the outskirts of Houston. Using his own money, he has planned for 10 to 12 fields and hopes to sustain the complex with dues and fees from leagues and lessons under his new nonprofit, the Kalsoom Prairie View Cricket Association, named after his mother.

As President of PAK Foods, Ahmed owns more than 150 franchise restaurants in four states, plus an energy company and half of a medical research venture. He has always been passionate about cricket but was never able to indulge in it as a child as he had to help support his family in Sialkot, Pakistan, and then later as an adult became busy with work. Seeing the growing demand for cricket, but the lack of facilities in the Houston area which has scattered cricket fields, Ahmed took the plunge to build his complex. It is expected to drive in lots of business to the local community, which is very supportive of the complex.

Iyman Faris
Iyman Faris, 49, is a Pakistani-American who served as a double agent for the FBI before pleading guilty in May 2003 of providing material support to Al Qaeda. A United States citizen since 1999, he had worked as a truck driver and lived in Columbus, Ohio. Since September 2003, Faris is the only confessed al Qaeda sleeper caught on U.S. soil.

Faris came to the United States as a young man in 1994 on a student visa but never enrolled in school. In 1995, he married Geneva Bowling and became a U.S. citizen in 1999. He returned to Pakistan in 2000. After his father had just died and his five-year marriage was ending. Just this week, a federal judge has ruled that he can retain his citizenship despite being sentenced to 20 years in prison for his guilty plea in plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge in 2003.