Pakistan Association Celebrates Independence Day in San Francisco
By Ras H. Siddiqui


The jubilant Pakistani-American crowd celebrates the Pakistan Independence Day in San Francisco

The Pakistan Association of San Francisco once again hosted the largest annual gathering of Pakistani-Americans in Northern California on August 19, 2007, as people came from as far as Reno, Nevada to participate in the celebration of Pakistan ’s 60th Independence Day anniversary right in the heart of what is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
An estimated 6000 people of Pakistani origin and their friends from other South Asian countries and from right here in California participated in what became an eight-hour festival which included speeches, a great deal of song and dance, Pakistani food (Chandni and Mehran Restaurants) and an exhibition of ethnic pride that would make any group other in America proud. Booths represented included The Hidaya Foundation (working to raise funds for Flood Relief), OPEN which encourages entrepreneurship and APPNA (Pakistani Physicians) along with the FBI (Recruitment), to mention a few.
The event started off with the customary recitation from the Holy Qur’an with translation. The Muslim flavor of Pakistani culture was evident here as was the capacity of this group to have a great deal of fun. Pakistanis are believed to number around 500,000 in the United States where they are represented in a variety of professions, especially in business, medicine and engineering.
Family, friends, religion, food and music combined here in San Francisco along with a tinge of politics as one guest speaker called for continued support for democracy in Pakistan while another from Sacramento (California State Senator Leland Yee) came to offer his felicitations to Pakistani-Americans for being an important part of our Golden State.


Pictures above: Glimpses of the Pakistan Independence Day celebra tions in San Francisco

Program emcee Akhtar Shah did a great job with keeping the program going efficiently.
Pakistan Association Board Members and President Anwer Siddiqui certainly deserve kudos for putting this event together but last but not least, it was the Pakistanis that made the effort to once again come here from all over the Northern California area, that really deserve full credit for making this day a great deal of fun for all. Needless to say as this reporter first bit into a delicious Nan and Chicken Boti Kabab combo, it was but a hint that this was going to be a good day. Pakistan Link was a major sponsor of the event.
After Kids Adeeb and Azeem Khan recited a duet, Chaudhry Khuda Bux, a veteran of Pakistan ’s Independence movement made a moving speech. This was followed by three or four guest singers who graced the stage while music composer Mr. Ali Shahabuddin was just getting warmed up.
Guest Speaker Mr. Muneer Malik, President of the Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association made a brief speech in Urdu where he called for an evaluation of the past 60 years of Pakistan ’s history and a change in direction towards more people inclusion in the future. He reflected on America ’s own freedom struggle which included the judicial acknowledgement and correction of laws regarding civil rights and freedom for all, especially African Americans. He said that recently, the Pakistani lawyer community has also been taking the lead in upholding the rule of law of the land and have shown the people of Pakistan what rightfully belongs to them. He hoped that 25 years from now, a more egalitarian Pakistan would emerge.
The Urdu Poet of the West, San Francisco ’s very own Javaid Sayed, once again took the opportunity to move the audience with his poetic verses. His lines contained elements of Unity, Faith and Discipline, the three pursuits laid down by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Runa Rizvi and young Omair Khan next took the opportunity to wake up the music lovers in our community with a fine lineup of national and ethnic songs. Runa started with Jeeway Pakistan , sang a duet with Omair, the fine Dil Dil Pakistan along with a number of hits made famous by the late legends Nur Jehan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. She also paid a tribute to ailing Ghazal Legend Mehdi Hassan.
California State Senator Leland Yee (8th District) took a brief opportunity to address the Pakistani-Americans present to congratulate them on the 60th independence day of their country of origin and for being an important part of California’s social and economic fabric.
After a brief interval, Runa and Omair came back along with Imran of the Pehchaan Group to electrify both young and old with reproductions and their own songs. Two or three recorded Pashtu language songs played gave the singers a break, but sure moved young people to dance. Runa Rizvi’s “Mast Mast” was just plain superb. The entertainment ended with Runa and Omair singing Dil Dil Pakistan once again to the delight of the audience.
The Pakistan Link held a raffle at the event which was won by young Mr. Sikandar.
The event closed with the singing of the National Anthem.
In closing, once again the Pakistan Association of San Francisco and the Pakistani- American community of Northern California, both need to be congratulated for the commemoration of Pakistan ’s Independence Day here in San Francisco in such a befitting manner.

 

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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Sikandar , the lucky winner of Pakistan Link’s raffle holds the flat screen TV/DVD