Award to Anti-Muslim Advani Divides APPNA
By Lisette Poole from California and Anver Saad from New York

Nationwide Pakistani-Americans are expressing outrage at Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) president Dr. Hussain G. Malik for honoring Hinduatva (Hindu Fascist) BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, who was the key figure in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and public sponsor of anti-Muslim riots and genocide; specially the Muslims’ massacre after the Masjid demolition and the burning alive of 2000 Muslims in Gujrat in 2002.
As reported at that time “Victims of the anti-Muslim violence include[d] Ehsaan Jaffrey, 65, a former member of the Indian parliament from Ahmedabad city. He was burnt alive at his residence at the Gulberg Society in Chamanpura.”
Sharmishta Mukherjee, a Kathak dancer, daughter of India’s Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee performed at the APPNA ceremony held in New Delhi on March 8, to honor L. K. Advani, and the Indian defense minister Pranab Mukherjee, where about 200 Pakistani American Physicians and their families attended.
Indo-Asian News Service reported that “Even a year ago, it would have been unthinkable that Sharmishta Mukherjee, a well known danseuse and Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter, would perform in front of 250 Pakistani American physicians visiting India.”
President of APPNA handed a plaque to Advani. (See the picture)
Dr. Malik President of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA), led a 120 physicians to India on an educational tour of hospitals in four cities. This was the first trip to India. Previously the organization has visited Morocco, Egypt, Spain and China.
The trip to India, at $4,000 per member, included conferences with physicians, but critics say it exceeded its mandate by engaging in political bargaining and honoring three controversial Indian politicians.
“Some of our members are on the visit of India. Some of fools among them invited L. K. Advani and awarded him a plaque,” said Dr. Mahmood Alam, Finance Secretary of APPNA. When Muslims Weekly asked him that it was no one but your own President, Dr. Alam said; “He was not authorized do it. He did it without consulting the board.”
The board consists of Dr. Hussain Malik (President), Dr. Paracha (President- Elect), Omar Ateeq (Past President), Dr. Nadeem Qazi (General Secretary), Mahmood Alam (Finance Secretary), and Presidents of all the Regional Chapters.
A banner in the hall where the ceremony took place had an unmistakable message: “Bridge the Gap People to People”
Dr. Faheem Butt, ex President of New York Regional Chapter and Ex-member of Executive Committee said the members of APPNA are extremely angry on Dr. Hussain and are demanding his immediate resignation. “We are not for profit American organization of Pakistani Physicians and we have nothing to do with Indian politics. Awarding a criminal politician of India, killer of Indian Muslims and anti-Pakistan can never be justified and a simple “apology” will not be accepted.”
Dr. Butt said that President Dr. Hussain initially justified his action and then he apologized on what he did. “He must step down and apology is not enough. He didn’t consult anybody. Mr. Advani is anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan,” Dr. Butt said. “What APPNA’s President did was very sad and shameful for all of us.”
Many APPNA members, describing themselves in their respective emails as “independent members” or “For an Independent APPNA”, have expressed their outrage on various e-mail lists.
The rapidly growing charge-sheet against Dr. Malik now includes: He violated APPNA decision-making procedures, overstepped his mandate and violated APPNA’s charter of being a non-political professional organization, put at risk APPNA’s non-profit status as his recent interaction with Indian politicians might provoke punitive action by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other law enforcement agencies, arbitrarily adopted a village near Amritsar for free health care, and has so far refused to explain his action to the general body, not to mention the stunned Pakistani-American community.
Some prominent APPNA members have privately indicated that they plan to censure him for his unauthorized action. The Executive Council Members and the Board of Trustees are holding conferences call to decide on a suitable course of action. According to the Bylaws the Executive Committee has the authority to ask him to resign on grounds that his unauthorized actions are “harmful to the spirit and well-being” of a professional organization.
Since their return from India, in mid March, APPNA has not issued any official account of their trip. Members say they are outraged that Dr. Malik tried to hide having given an award to Advani, and actually initially even denied having done so, but later claimed it was done only at the spur of the moment.
His claim that it was an innocent, unplanned action has been vigorously refuted by Dr. Rizwan Naeem, one of the delegation members, whose mother-in-law Dr. Najma Heptulla, was instrumental in opening a secret channel to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A close relative of Maulana Abul-Kalam Azad, Dr. Najma Heptulla is a member of the Indian Parliament. Her decision to join BJP a few months before the 2004 Indian elections was widely criticized by Indian Muslims. An internal email reveals that
“In December 2004 Dr. Malik again asked me to come with him and other members of organizing committee to help facilitate this tour. Dr. Najma Heptulla helped us in forming a local host committee. Needless to say she did it on a personnel capacity to help me. In this trip we also met with Mr. Advani, leader of the opposition, Mr. Praful Patel, minister of aviation, Mr. Sharad Pawar, minister of agriculture and Mr. Sunil Dutt, minister of sports and youth affair. “
In addition, during an interview, Dr. Naeem stressed that although he was a member of the organizing committee that planned the ten-day educational-collaboration tour, he had no idea a plaque would be given to Mr. Advani. “I had no consensual knowledge,” he said. He added that “to be fair, we tried to take advantage of the goodwill spirits that were prevalent. We all wish to see peace in South Asia.” He too said he does not know what was written on the plaque which was given in his presence.
Dr. Malik defended his move in exclusive comments to one of the reporters on this team. However, community members question his motives and some are calling for his resignation from the presidency of the 3,000-strong APNNA organization.
The controversy comes on the heels of improving relations between the two nuclear-armed countries symbolized in the inauguration of a bus line - the first in 60 years-between New Delhi and Islamabad.
“That was in the past. That was in the past, “said Husain Malik, M.D. “We must move forward otherwise we become like the Palestinians.” He was presumably referring to the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis over control of the occupied territories.
Dr. Malik, in a telephone interview, told this reporter, that his APNNA delegation’s trip to India was a scheduled “educational exchange between physicians. It involved visits to prominent hospitals in New Delhi.”
“It is OK for people to meet those who have been politically harmful to them, the Israelis have met with the Palestinians and the US has made peace with Vietnam, but I have a major problem with honoring them with a plaque on behalf of APPNA. APPNA did not give him authorization for that,” said Dr. Shabbir Safdar, a prominent member of the APPNA board of trustees.
“I gave him a plaque expressing our gratitude for his help in facilitating our tour,” Dr. Malik, said. Despite repeated requests Dr. Malik refused to indicate what was written on the plaque. Other members deny that APPNA was given any help either Mr. Advani or by Pranab Mukerjee, Indian Minister of Defense.
Reportedly, a visibly embarrassed Dr. Malik walked across the room to give the plaque to the Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukerjee who didn’t get up from his seat to receive the plaque.
Reports are making the rounds in the Pakistani community here that the general membership of APNNA e-list is asking Dr. Malik to resign because they feel he has used the trip for his personal glory. “It is indeed shameful that one of the strongest Pakistani-American organization’s President is catering to person like Advani, who killed Muslims in India and is proud of the fact, and was also in the forefront of the communal movement that led to the destruction of Babri Masjid,” wrote Dr. Naseem Shekhani.
“I will not resign, No!” Dr. Malik commented emphatically. “This was a goodwill trip to facilitate an exchange of ideas, and medical cooperation between physicians in our organization and hospitals in India.”
India and Pakistan have had a long-standing dispute over Kashmir, and each has troops in that divided region. Advani has accused the government of President Pervez Musharaf of cross-border terrorism and called on the United States to declare it a “terrorist state.” But the administration of president George Bush needs the cooperation of Pakistan to capture Osma Ben Laden, mastermind of the 9-11 attack on the US has been unwilling to displease President Musharraf, and has instead put its diplomatic efforts into fostering better relations between the two governments.
It is worth noting that shortly after receiving the award from APPNA’s Dr. Malik, Mr. Advani issued the following statement on April 7, 2005: The “Government would take appropriate steps to curb violence and tension in Jammu and Kashmir and that Pakistan would “fulfill assurances given to [the former Prime Minister] Vajpayee in Islamabad [in January 2004] to curb terrorism”.”
Disturbed by these revelations, another APPNA member standing for “For an independent APPNA” circulated the following comments through the APPNA List:
“I was a member of the EC last year and I don’t recall any mentioning of HM [Hussain Malik] having any plans to meet any Indian politicians. It is pathetic what has been done and it is even more hurtful to know that behind the scene contacts with BJP and ADVANI were going on since December 2004. Accountability of such damaging acts is very important to keep the organization on the righteous track. Yet another member who sent his email via APPNA List on Sunday, April 10 said: “Like you, on this Advani saga, I am disturbed too. I couldn’t understand the need of APPNA leadership to meet or greet a murderer or criminal like Advani, the architect of the Babri Masjid demolition and supporter of Muslim massacre in Gujarat.”
Several members of the APPNA executive committee did not return repeated phone calls.
Published Muslims Weekly, New York, Date: April 15, 2005


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.