Newport Doctor will Return
to Pakistan with Film Crew to Show Aid Efforts
By Michael Miller
Salman Naqvi and his wife Farzana with Relief Commissioner
Major General Farooq
Naqvi has ventured to Pakistan twice in the last three months,
witnessing firsthand the devastation that an earthquake brought
to the country.
In October, the Newport Beach physician spent eight days in
a medical tent, treating any patients who walked in; just
before New Year's, he returned to visit tent villages where
survivors were huddling in the winter chill.
Later this month, Naqvi is heading to his country of birth
again -- and this time, he's taking the world along for the
Naqvi, 43, who runs his own pulmonary and critical-care practice,
will venture to Pakistan on Jan. 23 with a documentary film
crew sponsored by Relief International. The film, narrated
by actor Ben Kingsley, is part of a larger series that Relief
International is planning on natural disasters around the
world. Naqvi will assist the crew as a translator, consultant
and liaison with Pakistani authorities.
"There's a lot left to do, but hopefully we've started
something that will progress into something big," the
Irvine resident said about his work in the ravaged country.
In December, Relief International -- a Los Angeles-based organization
that sponsored Naqvi's previous trips to Pakistan -- hosted
a party in Beverly Hills with Naqvi, Kingsley and film director
Richard Attenborough in attendance. Relief International had
recently launched the Gandhi Project, in which aid workers
screened Attenborough's 1982 film "Gandhi" in Palestinian
schools and refugee camps to teach them about nonviolence.
With the Gandhi Project accelerating, Relief International
opted to begin a film series of its own. Public relations
director Jennifer Norris said the final results would be short
documentaries, about a half an hour in length, that the agency
would market to public television stations. At the party,
Naqvi met Kingsley and Attenborough and agreed to participate
in the film project.
"His connection is being from Pakistan and still having
family over there," Norris said. "He's able to provide
us with connections not only in the government, but local
affiliations that are necessary for a film crew to shoot a
documentary in that country."
Dr. Naqvi and his wife in Bhogerman
eight to 10 days, Naqvi and the crew -- including acclaimed
documentary filmmaker Chip Duncan -- will travel around the
desolate reaches of the Himalayas, where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake
hit on Oct. 8 and killed as many as 100,000 people. Entire
towns collapsed during the quake, said to be the worst to
hit the region in the last 100 years.
Since then, both Naqvi and his wife, Farzana, have made two
trips to Pakistan. The country that he visited at the end
of December was in better shape than two months earlier --
but not by much. Flying back to the United States on Dec.
27, the doctor worried about conditions in the coming season.
"It wasn't snowing at that time," Naqvi said. "It's
started to snow now, so things have probably changed a little
for the worse."
Cold is just one of many problems faced by Pakistanis in the
earthquake region, and Naqvi has tried to do as much as possible.
In November, he hosted a fundraiser at the Doubletree Hotel
in Santa Ana, with Pakistan's consul general and other Relief
International officials in attendance. The event, which included
a live auction and video presentation, netted around $180,000
to help reconstruct a village.
The money, Norris said, would go to Bhogermang, a village
of 2,200 that lost its mosque, hospital, school and homes
in the earthquake. The village sits near the area where the
documentary crew will be filming.
Norris described the films' subject matter as "forgotten
emergencies" and said her organization's goal was to
remind viewers that the crises, despite fading from the headlines,
had not gone away.
When asked how many documentaries Relief International planned
to make, she replied, "Hopefully, not very many. Hopefully,
not many emergencies get forgotten. (Courtesy Daily Pilot)