into Action to Help Quake Victims
By Hazem Kira
A view of the PADF meeting
CA: An emergency meeting called by the Pakistan American
Democratic Forum (PADF), a US-wide grassroots organization,
on October 10 was just one example of how Pakistani-Americans
are springing back into action. Many new – first time
- participants showed up. Those who could not attend in
person due to Ramadan and other previous engagements kept
calling by phone. The last call came a few minutes past
In view of the community’s enthusiastic response,
the PADF has set up two follow up meetings on Tuesday, Oct
11 at 5: 30PM and Sunday, Oct 16 at 12 noon. Both meetings
will be held in Chandni Restaurant.
It was indeed impressive to see how quickly a shocked and
grieved community still trying to picture the full and lasting
impact of this disaster, and still waiting to get news about
the loved ones, was able to shed its grief and get to work.
The level of seriousness and dedication showed how much
the community has matured in the last decade.
“We will not duplicate the work of any existing Pakistani
or Pakistani-Americans organization”, organizers of
the PADF emergency meeting said. The PADF meeting started
with an overall assessment of the situation in Pakistan.
It was also stated that the PADF will not get involved with
the collection or distribution of relief resources but it
will facilitate this process to support bona fide Pakistani
and Pakistani-American relief organizations.
Realizing that it is the biggest natural disaster in the
history of Pakistan whereby "Kashmir has turned into
a graveyard”, and reflecting on the words of the Prime
Minister of Azad Kashmir that “for the first two days
we have been either digging ground to recover bodies or
digging to bury them”, all the activists vowed to
remain involved with the relief efforts for at least a year.
The PADF Meeting ended with the adoption of a two-point
agenda: Assembling a group of activists who are willing
to commit themselves for at least one year to work for the
relief effort in Pakistan, and keeping the Pakistani-American
community involved over the long duration and not let them
forget about the aftermath of this disaster.
After the adoption of the agenda, the participants proceeded
to set up several committees, which included information
development committee, resource development committee and
logistics coordination committee. While the information
development committee will research and qualify bona fide
relief organizations, the resources development committee
will be focusing on negotiating with pharmaceutical companies
for obtaining medicine free of cost or at substantially
reduced rates, and the logistics coordination committee
will focus on connecting major US donors with Pakistani
Government agencies and NGOs.
The resource development committee has already begun its
work to find relatively inexpensive sources of tents, blankets,
jackets, and other similar items.
Likewise, the Information Development Committee has started
compiling a comprehensive list of all major US Corporations
that donate matching funds to qualified charitable organizations.
The PADF will attempt to get Pakistani charities like the
Edhi foundation qualified for corporate matching funds.
Since the end of the meeting just 12 hours ago, the PADF
has set up a new website - www.VoiceofPakistan.Net - dedicated
exclusively to earthquake relief efforts, has initiated
a new e-group - PADF_QUAKE_RELIEF@yahoogroups.com - for
activists who seek to coordinate their relief efforts, and
will soon install a hotline to help find necessary information
for groups in Pakistan and the United States.
Activists who may want to work with any of the above PADF
Relief Committees should call (510) 252 – 9858.