Pak-US Relations Highlighted
By Naushad Sarwar
Sen. Tom, Harkin Former Sen. Shafqat Mahmood, Hamid Malik, Faiz Rehman, Tanvir Khan, Zain Baqai

Cerritos, CA: Senator Tom Harkin and former Pakistan Senator Shafqat Mahmood addressed a large gathering of Pakistani Americans at the Cerritos Sheraton Hotel on June 25, 2005. The talks were held under the aegis of COPAA to delineate the history of the ties between Washington and Islamabad, review current trends, and predict the nature of the relationship between the two countries.
L to R : Salam Al-Marayati, Consul General Jadmani and Dr. Nayyar Ali
L to R : Nilofar Qazi, Karim Ali and Qutubuddin Aziz
A group of CPAA guests

Mr. Tanvir Khan ably emceed the evening proceedings which began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Zain Baqai. Mr. Hamid Malik, President of COPAA, addressing the audience next welcomed the two senators with manifest enthusiasm. “Senator Tom Harkin is not new for the Pakistani community, a humble personality who helped create peace in the region for Muslims and the West,” he remarked. “Mr. Shafaq Mahmood is an honorable former Minister for Information, Culture, Environment and Transport - Government of the Punjab (Nov 1999 to Oct 2000),” he informed.
L to R : Rauf Gajiani, Kadir Moosani, Dr.M.A.Majeed and Amin
Mottiwala
L to R : Mohammad Kalam, Arif Mansoori, Mrs. Waqar Ali Khan
and Samin Faruqi
Shahid Tarar and Ahmad Farooq

Senator Tom Harkin began his speech by describing Mr. Hamid Malik as a close friend and the Pakistani community as his favorite. During the course of his speech, he asked the Pakistani community to participate more actively in the political activities at Capital Hill. “Guantanamo Bay should be closed and detention center hostages must be interrogated before a judge,” he demanded. He mentioned the fact that Pakistan has been the closest ally of the US for half a century in combating terrorism, lending help in the Vietnam War and fighting the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. “I see Pakistan doing a great job in the field of agriculture, education, business and science and feel proud to stand with Pakistani community who bestowed me with great friends,” Senator Harkin concluded.

Hamid Malik presents the COPAA plaque to Sen.
Tom Harkin

Answering questions, Senator Harkin said the Indian lobby was very strong and that put Pakistanis under great pressure to air their point of view at Capital Hill. ”Government has no right to tap into our private information without a judge order,” Mr. Harkin said while criticizing the Patriot Act in response to a question. “It’s a challenge for you, you need to be organized, raise funds for school, college and be involved in government,” he advised the community members.

Mrs. Fiza Shah (extreme right) with guests

Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, former Pakistani senator, congratulated Mr. Hamid Malik, Consul General N.M. Jadmani and the audience for their tireless efforts. He identified the root causes of extremism in Pakistan and described how tenaciously the government is engaged in facing up to the situation and overcoming the challenges.

“The President General. Pervez Musharraf is keen on combating extremism with his heart in the right place and a focused mind,” he claimed.
Mr. Faiz Rehman, PALC Executive Director, also addressed the gathering to solicit community support for strengthening the Pakistan Caucus in the Congress.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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