By Naushad Sarwar
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.
to R : Salam Al-Marayati, Consul General Jadmani and
Dr. Nayyar Ali
to R : Nilofar Qazi, Karim Ali and Qutubuddin Aziz
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),”
to R : Rauf Gajiani, Kadir Moosani, Dr.M.A.Majeed and
to R : Mohammad Kalam, Arif Mansoori, Mrs. Waqar Ali
and Samin Faruqi
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.
Malik presents the COPAA plaque to Sen.
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
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.