Afghans and Pakistanis
Join Hands to Help Quake Victims
By Hazem Kira
of the Pakistani-American community who extended wholehearted
support to the fundraiser
Newark, CA: The October 8 earthquake
which struck Pakistan on October 8th and left 500,000 homeless
and 80,000 dead, is bringing about a new found amity and cooperation
among Americans of Afghan and Pakistani origin. This partnership
is beginning to build a reservoir of goodwill.
Waheed A. Momand, president of the Afghan Coalition, who has
been involved in the Afghan relief efforts for the last several
years, has attended several recent meetings of the Pakistan
American Democratic Forum (PADF) to provide input and advice
for long-term reconstruction planning.
“Theirs is the voice of experience that we must listen
to”, says Ms. Raana Faiz, veteran Pakistani activist
and host of Urdu language radio program Humrahi. Ms. Faiz
has been instrumental in mobilizing community activists, particularly
the youth, for knowledge and expertise-based participation
in the PADF resource mapping project.
There are an estimated 40, 000 Afghans and 60,000 Pakistanis
in the Greater Bay Area.
“Pakistani-Americans have a much larger pool of engineers,
scientists and doctors and should be able to do much more
for Pakistan”, Mr. Momand said.
Helped by its expert team members that include Afzal Waheed,
Jawed Umrani, Irshad Rana, Saghir Ahmed, Ahmed Kaleem Hashmi,
Abdul Rahman Rafiq, Dr. Ausaf Rahman, Iqbal Ahmed, Abid Malik,
and many others, the PADF is in the process of installing
a system to track and record inflow of goods and services,
as well as both inflow and outflow of experts.
The upcoming weekly PADF E-Letter, for example, details the
departure of second Chinese medical team. The Xinhua News
Agency reported that “China’s second rescue team
to treat Pakistanis injured in the recent earthquake returned
to Beijing Thursday after 20 days of hard work.” During
this time the Chinese medical team treated over 2,000 Pakistanis
and also helped train local medical staff.
“While we thank the Chinese government and their 38-member
medical team for their timely help, we also need to keep an
eye of the number of injured who need medical care for many
more weeks or months to come, ” PADF Chair Dr. Agha
Expressing his appreciation for PADF’s systematic approach
to resource, Mr. Momand offered to share information about
grant writing proposals, resources development and media and
In a recent interview with this author, Mr. Momend has shared
his ideas and expertise with the Pakistani-American community.
This interview will be published at a future date.
Community activists and observer see this interaction among
Afghan and Pakistani activists as a very positive development.
Mr. Inam Chaudhry, the past president of Pakistan Association
of the San Francisco Bay Area and a member of the PADF Community
Outreach Team, welcomed this brotherly cooperation between
the two communities. “The past and present governments
of Pakistan may have had questionable Afghan policies, but
we are essentially one people tied together by bonds of faith,
linage, and culture.”
Similar sentiments have been expressed by a number of other
“For years we have been living in relative indifference
to each other, praying in the same mosques but not getting
involved with each others problem, but thank God now that
is beginning to change”, veteran community activist
Saleem Akhtar said.