PAL-C’s Inaugural Community Outreach Event in Houston


Ambassador M. A. Durrani (left) and Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie

Houston, TX: The Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C) held its inaugural community-outreach event in the great city of Houston, Texas on December 5, 2006. Members of PAL-C visited Houston for three days during which they held meetings with several members of the vibrant Pakistan-American community.
The visit included a luncheon with members of the Asia Society and a reception at the Pakistani Consulate in Houston. The highlight of the visit was a private dinner hosted by PAL-C Regional Director (TX) Mrs. Mariam Issa in honor of the Pakistani Ambassador Mr. Mahmud Ali Durrani.
This event was the first in a series to take place in 2007. The second event is being held in Los Angeles, California on the 23rd of February.
PAL-C was represented in Houston by Executive Director Mr. Ali Chaudhry, Director of Communications Ms. Sasha Khan, National Directors Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie and Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai, and Regional Director Mrs. Mariam Issa.
The aim of the visit was to introduce PAL-C to the active Pakistani-American community in Houston in order to facilitate better communication and cooperation for the future. In several meetings during the visit, PAL-C leadership held discussions with various members of the community on issues such as political participation, community activism, immigration reform, homeland security, US-Pakistan relations, bilateral trade and commerce, and educational exchanges.


Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani with PAL-C officials and supporters in Houston

Mr. Chughtai, Mr. Lodhie and Mr. Chaudhry recalled PAL-C's humble beginnings when it was inaugurated on Capitol Hill in the House International Relations Committee by President Musharraf in September 2004. They described PAL-C's non-profit status and briefed the community on the center’s internal structure, including its financial, legal and organizational situation.
Members of the Pakistani American Leadership Center informed the community about its mission, its strengths, its future goals and its efforts currently underway. PAL-C officials also discussed their desire to place talented Pakistani-American students as interns and young professionals in staff positions in respected offices in the US Congress. PAL-C members updated the Houston community on the efforts underway by members of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, and outlined PAL-C's organizational and strategic plans for 2007. They encouraged community members to work with PAL-C's office in Washington DC to promote political participation amongst Pakistani Americans and to help achieve mutually desirable objectives. The PAL-C requested all community leaders, organizations and individuals to supports its cause by providing intellectual and financial capital.
PAL-C leadership attended a working luncheon with members of Asia Society, Texas on December 5, 2006. The keynote speaker for the event was His Excellency Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States of America. Ambassador Durrani shed light on "Pakistan's contributions to counter-terrorism" and elaborated on efforts to eradicate terrorism from within Pakistan soil as well as neighboring Afghanistan.
Later, PAL-C National Directors Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai and Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie attended a private reception at the Houston Consulate of Pakistan, as guests of Consulate General Mr. G.R. Baluch.
On December 5, PAL-C hosted a working dinner in honor of His Excellency Mahmud Ali Durrani at The Houstonian Hotel in downtown Houston. Fifty members of the influential Pakistani-American business community were invited to the exclusive event. Before dinner, PAL-C Executive Director Mr. Ali Chaudhry, National Directors Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai and Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie, and Regional Director Mrs. Mariam Issa thanked the audience for their presence and explained PAL-C's mission and objectives. Ambassador Durrani, the chief guest, encouraged community activism and supported PAL-C's efforts in his speech.
The PAL-C tour was a huge success. Various influential leaders from the political and business arena attended the events and showed their support. Most of the audience members also signed on to become members of PAL-C and pledged financial support for PAL-C's noble cause. Some of the attendees were:
1. Mr. M.J. Khan, Houston City Council Members, District F
2. Ms. Naila Qureshi, Interim Executive Director Asia Society
3. Ms. Sahar Wali, District Press Liaison, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee
4. Mr. Umair Shah, Deputy Director HCPHES
5. Mr. Sajjad I. Burki, President Pakistan-American Council of Texas
6. Mr. Zafar Tahir, State Delegate, Democratic Party
7. Mr. Faisal Amin, President Texas Trade Council
8. Mr. Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Senior VP Pakistan Chamber of Commerce - USA
9. Dr. Birjees Ashrad, Professor of Economics, Houston Community College
10. Mr. Wajid A. Mirza, Partner, Arthur Lawrence Worldwide
The Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C) is the only professional Pakistani-American advocacy organization that is located on Capitol Hill. It launched the Congressional Pakistan Caucus in May 2004 and works to raise awareness about Pakistani-American interests in Washington policy circles. If you wish to learn more about PAL-C, please visit its website www.pal-c.org or email at info@pal-c.org.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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