LA Community Comes out
in Force to Support PAL-C’s Efforts
to R: Ambassador Durrani, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez
and Pervaiz Lodhie
The premier national Pakistani
American organization, the Pakistani American Leadership
Center (PAL-C), organized its second “Community Outreach”
event in the city of Los Angeles on February 23, 2007. The
well-organized event was held at the LAX Hilton with about
130 people from the business and political community in
attendance. The purpose of the event was to emphasize the
importance of political participation, community activism,
and the role of Pakistani-Americans in today’s America.
The “Community Outreach” series was launched
in December 2006 with the inaugural event held in Houston,
Texas. The aim of the series is to strengthen PAL-C's ties
to the nationwide community in the USA, forge relationships
with other organizations, and to formally invite Pakistani-American
leaders to join PAL-C's ranks.
The Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C) is the
only professional Pakistani-American advocacy organization
that is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It launched
the Congressional Pakistan Caucus in May 2004 and works
to raise awareness about Pakistani-American interests in
Washington policy circles.
The exclusive event was organized by Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie,
Founding Director of PAL-C. PAL-C was also represented at
the event by two other Founding Directors - Dr. Rafiq Rahman
and Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai and the most recent addition to
the Board of National Directors - Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry.
Mr. Arif Mansuri, a well-known figure in the Los Angeles
community – was introduced as the latest Regional
Director of PAL-C.
to R: Prof. Stanley Wolpert, Sherrif Lee Baca and
The PAL-C function started
with a reception that allowed community members to mingle
with each other and with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and
Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani. Also in attendance were aides
of Congressman Gary Miller and Congresswoman Hilda Solis.
PAL-C had also invited members of the Council of Pakistan
American Affairs, Friends of Pakistan, Council of Pakistan
American Chamber of Commerce, Urdu Writers’ Society,
FBI’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, Los Angeles
County Sheriff’s Pakistan Advisory Council, and the
Council of American-Islamic Relations.
Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie formally inaugurated the event and introduced
the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, PAL-C Executive
Director Mr. Ali Chaudhry who had flown into town from Washington,
DC. Mr. Chaudhry thanked the audience for its participation
in this important effort to unite the community and introduced
the PAL-C Directors. Mr. Chaudhry welcomed the speakers
for the evening and praised Congresswoman Linda Sanchez’s
efforts to work with the Pakistani community and her commitment
to the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai, PAL-C
National Director, made a comprehensive presentation on
the “Past, Present and Future” of PAL-C. Mr.
Chughtai pointed out that there was no national presence
of Pakistani-Americans in Washington, DC. and that is why
PAL-C was formed in 2004 – to galvanize the community
across the county and to represent our common interests
in the nation’s capital. Mr. Chughtai highlighted
PAL-C’s recent efforts to educate lawmakers about
Pakistan as well as its campaign to mobilize the community
to oppose anti-Pakistan legislation. Finally, he listed
PAL-C’s future vision and urged the community to support
its efforts financially, intellectually and morally.
Mr. Ahmed Ali, Director of the Council of Pakistan American
Affairs (COPAA), introduced Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy D.
Baca to the audience. Sheriff Baca gave a passionate and
heart-rending speech in which he described his love for
Pakistan, highlighted his recent trips to the beautiful
country, and praised the commitment of the Pakistani-American
community. Sheriff Baca also complimented PAL-C’s
efforts and urged the Los Angeles community to support PAL-C.
The next speaker was Mr. Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director
of the LA Chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
Mr. Ayloush described the many injustices minorities in
this country have suffered, from the Irish to the Japanese
to the Muslims, and stressed the importance of community
activism and unity to overcome such challenges. He also
described PAL-C’s efforts in working with Members
of Congress to impact legislation that was beneficial for
Pakistan. He urged the audience to become members of PAL-C.
Lastly, Mr. Ayloush resolved to work with PAL-C and the
Pakistani-American community to safeguard their common interests.
to R: Arif Mansuri, Ali Chaudhry, a guest, and M.
Next, Assistant Director of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Mr. Stepehen J.
Tidwell took over the podium. Mr. .Tidwell described the
work his agency is doing with the LA community and pointed
out the members of the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee
(MCAC). He also asked the community to encourage the Pakistani
American youth to work for the FBI to keep the country safe
Professor Stanley Wolpert from the University of California
at Berkeley, author of “Jinnah of Pakistan”,
took the stage after Mr. Ayloush. He briefly praised the
speeches of Mr. Tidwell and Sheriff Baca. Prof. Wolpert
described his love for the community and his respect for
the work PAL-C is doing.
After dinner, the keynote speakers took to the stage. First,
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of the 39th District of California
delivered a powerful speech in which she spoke of her experience
as a member of a minority community that is similar to those
of Pakistani Americans. She spoke of the importance of the
US-Pakistan relationship and the visible activism in the
community. She also urged the community youth to apply for
internships with Members of Congress and to vote in every
election from the city council up. Finally, the Congresswoman
spoke of her participation in the Pakistan Caucus and promised
to continue serving the Pakistani people.
General Syed Ibn-e-Abbas and his wife
Los Angeles Consul General
Mr. Syed Ibne Abbas praised PAL-C and said that it was very
commendable that PAL-C is making strides to unite the community
and to work with others to promote the Pakistani cause.
He introduced the Ambassador of Pakistan to the USA, Mr.
Mahmud Ali Durrani. The Ambassador credited PAL-C for mobilizing
the community on the East Coast and said that PAL-C was
doing very important work. He then advised the community
to work together and be active in communicating their concerns
to the US Congress. He also described Pakistan’s efforts
to battle militants along the Pak-Afghan border, to counter
regional terrorists, and to promote economic reforms at
Ambassador Durrani also credited the American efforts to
help the Pakistani people in their time of need, after the
earthquake of 2005.
to R: Ambassador Durrani, Pervaiz Lodhie and Rafiq
Finally, PAL-C leadership
took to the stage again to deliver the closing remarks.
Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry of Virginia spoke of his personal experiences
as a student in the USA and said that PAL-C was unique in
the sense that it has no hierarchy among its members and
is inclusive of all Pakistani Americans. Dr. Rafiq Rehman
of Kentucky spoke of Pakistan’s importance as an ally
to the United States and insisted that this relationship
deserves to be strengthened. Mr. Arif Mansuri said he was
very excited to join PAL-C as a Regional Director and thanked
the community for its support. Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie listed
the numerous challenges that exist for the community and
said that only by working together can we overcome these