Friends of Pakistan Makes Speedy Progress
A Pakistan Link Report



Above : Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas, FOP President Sarfaraz Khan and office bearers of Friends of Pakistan.

Bellflower, CA: The newly founded Friends of Pakistan (FOP) appears poised to cement closer links between various Pakistani-American community groups at the grassroots level. Thanks to several well-meaning initiatives taken by the FOP since its inception in January 2006, the organization’s strivings to forge closer bonds between Pakistanis living in the United States are beginning to crystallize and gathering steam by the day.
This was the consensus at a function hosted by FOP at the Bristol Civic Auditorium on December 2. Prominent community members belonging to various walks of life turned up in large numbers to grace the occasion. They were pleasantly surprised to learn of FOP’s well-meaning objectives and the workable strategy chalked out by its founders to achieve them.
Dr. Feroz Alam served as the emcee and introduced the founder and President of Friends of Pakistan, Mr. Sarfaraz Khan, to the audience. He also lauded Mr Khan’s sincere efforts in bringing the Pakistani American community together is a short span of time.
Speaking on the occasion, FOP President Sarfaraz Khan made a convincing presentation and elaborated on the administrative structure of the organization. He also introduced the office bearers of the Southern California Chapter of the organization.
“FOP will be a national organization. We will strengthen the base in California” first and then quickly move over to the other states. By November 2008, FOP aims to set up 100 chapters in different US cities. By 2012, the organization plans to enlist the support of 50,000 active members.
The FOP objective was spelled out thus: In the absence of a vibrant organization at the grassroots level, the average Pakistani-American often found himself helplessly perched: he could not air his views on subjects that directly impacted his life or overcome vexing problems. The community’s voice on pressing issues went unheard. Friends of Pakistan would strive to timely fill up this disconcerting void. It seeks to serve as the voice of the community in the US. Besides, FOP would act as a bridge between Pakistanis and various groups, cement closer ethnic ties, strengthen interfaith bonds, and make Pakistanis useful members of the American society.


Tarannum Naz

The FOP President emphasized the need of forging unity in the Pakistani-American community and made many interesting observations: We live in the United States. We love this country. We will be misfits if we return to Pakistan. We must unite and integrate with the system… In the post-9/11 period we need friends more than ever before…Mainstream media has smeared our image and we must take expeditious measures to ensure that this does not happen again.
Mr. Khan also spotlighted the organizational structure of the FOP: It will comprise a Board of Trustees(a group of people who will stay in the organization for life or until they resign, and who will elect the Board of Directors and oversee its activities), Board of Directors (FOP members who will run the organization’s day-to-day business, define its policy and implement it. The board will consist of three officers: President, Secretary & Treasurer), Advisory Council (every state shall have a group of people who will advise the betterment of the organization and act as advisors), County/State Coordinators(every county will have its representative to represent him/her in the Board of Directors, and their responsibilities to conduct or coordinate FOP’s events and promote FOP’s objectives and mission at county level), City Coordinators (every incorporated city will have a city coordinator to conduct FOP’s day-to-day business. The city coordinator will be responsible for enlisting new members and help the Board of Directors in achieving FOP’s objectives. Their responsibilities and duties will be described in a forthcoming manual of duties and responsibilities).
The FOP’s short- term goals will be: To set up one hundred chapters and have 5,000 members by November 2008. The long-term goals call for enlisting 50,000 members, and run a newspaper, a TV channel, a community center, and a senior retirement home.
Mr. Sarfaraz Khan also introduced the board of trustees, directors, and state and city coordinators to the audience. They are:
Board of Trustees: Abu Bakr Vakil, Ihsan Majeed, Dr. Naseem Malik, Mrs Asia Khan, Mohammad Hanif, Sarfaraz Khan, Rehana Qamar, and Saghir Aslam.
Board of Directors: Sarfaraz Khan (President), Tariq Altaf (Seceretary), Mohamamd Hanif (Tresurer)
Members Board of Directors: Aqeel Ahmed, Isamil Ebrahim, Mohammad Afzal, Sofia Altaf, Yasmin Sajan, Raja Adil, Chaudry Maqsood, Yousuf Ebrahim and Fawad Khan.
Advisory Council: Zubair Rawda, Syed Hasan, MD Khalid, Salim Hai, Chaudry Imtaiz Ahmed, Faisal Khan and Shahina Paracha.
City Coordinators: (Southern California): Aqeel Ahmed, Bilal Qamar, Chaudry Maqsood, Faizan Hanif Bakali, Kamran Lateef, Martha, Mohammad Afzal, Mohammad Hanif, Mohammad Wasim, Muzafar Anwar, Nahid Ihsan Majeed, Rafat Khan, Raheel Kirmani, Raja Adil, Rehana Qamar, Sheikh Iftikhar, Shan Qadeer, Sofia Altaf, Sohail Khan, Nadeem Syed, Yasmin Sajan and Zahid Hussain.
City Coordinators (Northern California): Shahb Siddiqi, Samina Khan, Zahid Saif, Nasir Bashir, Asma Hamdani, Zeeshan Ansari, Malik Younus Awan.
Speaking on the occasion, Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas hoped the FOP efforts to unite the community would be crowned with success. “Individually you are all doing well. You will make a difference when you act collectively… You are our pride. Your response to the earthquake catastrophe has humbled us. You have to do networking. You are Pakistani-Americans but you must consider yourselves as Americans now. Be inclusive. This is your home.”
He asked the gathering to have a closer rapport with State Assembly members as well as members of the Congress and the Senate for ushering a wholesome change.
The Consul General hoped that FOP’s rising leaders would accomplish the much-needed task of networking and make the Pakistani-Americans a closely knit community. He also asked community to shun their differences and avoid leg pulling.
The Consul General also exhorted the community members to support the fledgling Pakistani-American media which is working with a missionary zeal and is in need of community support.
The entertainment program featuring well-known Pakistan singer Tarannum Naz and local artists was thoroughly enjoyed by the invitees.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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