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