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Monday, March 25, 2013

Pakistanis celebrate Pakistan Day in Dallas-Fort Worth region

Dallas Pakistanis Celebrate Pakistan Day

March 23, 2013 - Dallas, Texas

The Pakistan Society of North Texas (PSNT) celebrated the Pakistan Day, the day on which a decision was made in 1940 to create the state, and it is also the day in 1956 when Pakistan adopted her constitution.

I congratulate Mrs. Anjum Anwar, the new President of PSNT and her team for a job well done.

The leadership of the PSNT must also be congratulated for bringing stability and continuance of the policies. In the past, when the new team got elected, they mercilessly dumped the old team, all their good work was rendered useless, and it’s like someone winning the war and taking over the country and pushing the old Badshah aside.

For the last five years, this association has demonstrated stability and continuance, the immediate past President Mr. Barkat Basaria was actively participating in the program to make it successful. Indeed, this has been the case for the past few successions from Dr. Riaz Haider, to Mohammad Yunus, Shan Ali Bhagat, Dr. Rabia Khan, and Mr. Barkat Basaria down to Mrs. Anjum Anwar (Forgive me for the sequence or not remembering all the names). This is a healthy and positive change that the previous Presidents and the teams remain on the honor roll. What a delight it must be to serve. 

It was good to see many of the past presidents participate in the event. The organization is on the right path and I wish them all the success.

Each one of the presidents with no exception in the long past has served the organization and the community well, unfortunately the old system promoted hostile takeovers, and the previous teams were side lined and blamed out of pettiness.  Everyone has served well in the past and deserves to be recognized on occasions and like this, and I am glad Anjum Anwar acknowledged most of them.

The problem was never the individual, it was the system. The new system will fix most of the past ailments, as evidenced by the upbeat positive event on March 23rd. The new system is good for the Pakistani community.

The team has raised nearly $275,000.00 through individual donations and contributions to house a center for Pakistani people of North Texas. Despite  the problems, the trustees have preserved the money and  will rightfully use the funds for the purpose for which they were collected: to have a Pakistan Center.  A commitment that the Pakistani community will hopefully appreciate it.

Congratulations to Dr. Amer Suleman to start a new Organization called Pakistani American Association of Texas to attend to the un-attended. The North Texas Pakistanis ought to cherish that they will have two organizations and many events to attend. Dallas/ Fort Worth is massive area, and there are at least 40,000 Pakistanis living who will be reached out to.

I urge the community members to put things behind,  and resist the temptation to find faults or bad mouth others. Please don't beat up the Pakistani community for these attitudes, the Indians have done exactly the same thing.  Indeed, you might serve the community well, if you could tell the bad mouthers to hold it within themselves  This is what I have personally said to a few, “If you don’t have anything good to say about others, then don’t say anything. I don’t want to hear and be a party to the ill-will .” Of course, they did not like it, and I am glad, I chose not to be a carrier or their sewage.

When we have two organizations, it becomes entertainment for a few to pit one against the other, we need not fall for those rascals.  I am asking PSNT and PAAT leadership to understand that most of us, including me, will treat everyone as our friends with goodwill towards every one.  Insha Allah, time permitting, I will attend functions and events of both, just as I attend most of the India, Bangladesh and a few Nepalese and Sri Lankan events besides most of the main stream events. 

I request Dr. Amer Suleman and Mrs. Anjum Anwar, presidents of the PAAT and PSNT not to listen to any one who sows the seed of distrust in you about others from this day forward. Take the organizations forward and do a lot of good things the community needs.

My hats off to Amer for arranging the April 7th event for our kids to evaluate the colleges they may want to consider. Its a good program indeed.  My hats off to Anjum for turning the Pakistan day speeches over to the youth. The young lady’s speech was excellent, we have got to turn over the things to youth and it’s time for us to admire and watch the youth take it over.

It was good to see PSNT pay tribute to Mansur Shah, a dedicated volunteer and past president of PSNT. We have worked together on many of the events including the day of 9/11/2001. He was a great guy and may his soul rest in peace. He was the first person to write a check towards Najma's elections campaign. (Those who are new,  Najma Ghouse was my late wife who served the Pakistani community well - she passed away five years ago to Cancer). We had a misunderstood conflict between us, and I asked Mansur Shah to visit Najma on her death bed, and both forgave each other, that was one of the most beautiful moments of releasing each other from tensions. 

I am glad to see observance of silent duwas for Dr. Muhammad Khalid who is battling with cancer. Dr. Khalid has worked tirelessly on developing the constitution of the society. We have worked together on many things including the first unity day. He understands full well what the community needs to do to go forward. I pray his recovery. Amen!

The speeches were short and precise. A student delivered a perfect speech on the occasion. Dr. Arif Jamal did a fabulous job of interviewing many a members of the community, he sounded like a good TV show host. Mrs. Anjum Anwar went to each table and met with most, if not all the people, nice touch!

Here in Dallas, we have a tradition where Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Nepalese join in each others' celebrations. Perhaps the catalytic event may be the Desi Thanksgiving Celebrations in 1993, where all the Desis came together for the first time. It was beefed up with the Asian News magazine that made its debut in 1993 representing stories from all communities. Then the first commercial radio Asian News was established in 1996 that brought communities together. Its nostalgic to me, when Indians would come on my radio and sing Pakistani Qoumi taranay on the air on august 14th, and the next day, the Pakistanis would sing Indian National songs on the 15th. There was a lot of goodwill established during those formative years and I am proud, John Hammond of FunAsia is carrying the tradition forward with all his heart and mind, thank you John! Together as Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Sri Lankans, we are one of the best communities in the United States.

A few suggestions for the next event:

1. Prepare a full script for the entire program to ensure nothing is missed out. Every word we say at our events including Unity Day, Holocaust and Genocides and thanksgiving celebrations is written up and memorized. You have got to have a script, it lends concrete ideas to become a part of the program.

2. Acknowledge all, if acknowledged at all. It is difficult to acknowledge every one, but put a booklet out, not the expensive kind, but a simple one to acknowledge all. When you have a book, you will remember most if not all. 
3. Bring aboard Christian, Hindu, Sikh and other Muslim Pakistanis. You guys can be a beacon of hope to the world and other Pakistanis around the nation. Set the example, and bring aboard each one and give them a stage presence - no speeches or may be a one minute talk (as we do in the Unity day to bring everyone from Atheist to Zoroastrians and every one in between). 

Dr. Pervaz Rahman had a good idea of issuing a solidarity statement in reference to the communal conflicts in Pakistan. It's a shame how a few Sunni Pakistanis are treating fellow Pakistanis who are Shia, Ahmadi, Christian, Hindu and others. If the Dallas Pakistanis cannot speak up for unity and well being of all Pakistanis, then who will? If ten American Cities can emulate you, imagine what will do to the Pakistanis in Pakistan.  I understand GEO TV covers such events to promote goodwill.

Again, happy Pakistan Day

Mike Ghouse

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