NCHD Fundraiser in Los Angeles
A Pakistan Link Report
Pictures by Naushad Sarwar

Nasim Ashraf


Consul General Jadmani
Pervaiz Lodhie
Najeeb Ghauri

Los Angeles: The second fundraiser of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) at the glittering Hilton LAX on September 23, 2005 turned out to be truly a memorable occasion. It brought together a zestful team of organizers visibly charged with the task of raising funds for a noble cause and a warm and caring Los Angeles community of Pakistani Americans who appeared equally seized of its role in contributing to the many well-meaning initiatives of the NCHD.
Dr Nasim Ashraf, Minister of State and Chairman NCHD, was himself present on the occasion to welcome the guests. He was ably assisted by two founding NCHD board members – Pervaiz Lodhie and Najeeb Ghauri – and Ayesha Ghauri, Omair Siraj and a vigilant team of volunteers who took pains to ensure that the invitees were well looked after.

Ayesha Ghauri and Omair Siraj
Sabri Brothers

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nasim Ashraf enumerated the many successes of the NCHD: just in a year’s time “Pakistan had climbed 10 spots on the human development ladder and had gone up from a low human development to a medium human development country.” He also informed the gathering that the 3.5 million overseas Pakistanis earn as much as the 150 million Pakistanis living in the country. The Pakistani diaspora is thus especially positioned to help the NCHD in meeting its yearly budget deficit of $ five million. The deficit explains why the NCHD is forced to organize fundraisers.
He also informed the gathering that the NCHD accounts are unfailingly audited by Fergusons & Co in accordance with international accounting principles. All funds in the US are raised and routed through the UNDP which along with the government of Pakistan monitors the activities and accounts of the NCHD to ensure transparency at all levels.
Thanks to the transparent nature of these operations, the NCHD – a public private partnership to help achieve the millennium goals – enjoys collaboration with prestigious international institutions like UNDP, Bill and Gates Foundation, Microsoft, UNESCO, WHO, and World Bank. In a short span of time, the NCHD can boast of several milestones including:
… 53 districts of Pakistan covered (2002-05)
… 1.5 million previously out-of-school children enrolled in schools
… 212,000 adult learners have become literate, 85% of which are females
… 1.4 million women taught to make and use ORS, an effective, low-cost way of reducing child mortality
… 40,321 volunteers trained and registered in 30,000villages
… 307,254 women and children vaccinated against disease
… School dropout rate reduced from 37% to 8% through teams of teachers and community volunteers
… Exceeding international standards of efficiency with just 6.6% of spending on administrative costs.
Mr Najeeb Ghauri read out a message from Mr Hafeez Pasha, a UNDP executive, who lauded the many schemes of the NCHD to uplift the lot of the masses in rural Pakistan. Mr Pasha stated that the UNDP was proud to be associated with the National Commission for Human Development. The project implementation is fully transparent, Mr Pasha testified, and this explains why it is being readily emulated by planners in China. Speaking on his own behalf, Mr Ghauri said the NCHD Board is responsible for “monitoring the money spent. We ensure that the money is used wisely.” He also announced a personal contribution of $10,000 to the Commission’s funds. The other board member, Mr Pervaiz Lodhie, also contributes $10,000 to the NCHD funds every year.

Pictures above : Guests at the fundraiser

In his remarks on the occasion, Mr Lodhie spelled out the raison d’etre of the NCHD: “Our mission is to fight the war on poverty.” He exhorted the gathering “to be soldiers in this war which we have to win.” “We are watching out for your money,” he assured the gathering.
In a Pakistan Link public service message earlier, Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie had stated, “There is no human development or poverty-alleviation program in the world that can even come close to achieving the highest return per dollar in the shortest period of time than the NCHD/PHDF initiative started and supported by President Musharraf in both resources and money. Now it is your turn to financially support our effort if you want Pakistan to prosper.”
The soft-spoken and popular Consul General Noor Mohammad Jadmani who also graced the occasion highlighted the NCHD role in the “development of the social sector in Pakistan.” The government’s efforts in the sector “could be supplemented by Pakistani Americans and I hope LA will live up to its reputation this evening,” he stated.
Speeches over, the famous Sabri qawwals gave a scintillating performance. “Halae dil Mustafa ko sunaoon/ Tham kar unkae rozae ki jali” brought solace to many troubled hearts. Indisputably, the event deserved the best superlatives.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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