Pakistan to Emerge as a Liberal, Progressive State: Ambassador Durrani Tells COPAA Gathering
A Pakistan Link Report


Ambassador Durrani and Dr. Razaq Chaudhry

Garden Grove, CA: Describing the Musharraf government as “one of the cleanest” in the history of Pakistan, Ambassador Mahmud A. Durrani assured community members that Pakistan was well on its way to emerge as a liberal, progressive state as envisioned by the Founder of the Nation.
He was addressing a large group of Pakistani-Americans at a reception hosted by the Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA) at the Orange County Hyatt Regency on Saturday, February 24, 2007.
Candid and forthright in his observations, the ambassador was visibly buoyant and upbeat as he reviewed a wide spectrum of subjects to spotlight “where Pakistan is and where it is going.” The economy is “pulsating”, the investment is picking up, and there are manifest indications that Pakistan is “a country at peace with itself, at peace with the rest of the world.” The government’s strivings to usher a wholesome change in the life of an average Pakistani are beginning to bear fruit. To give an impetus to the developmental surge, he exhorted the Pakistani-American community to “start investing and the rest of the people will follow you.”
He dispelled the notion that the Army is ruling the country. “A vibrant democracy, a ruling party and a very robust opposition” are very much in place. For the first time in the history of the country the National and Provincial Assemblies would complete their tenure that indisputably would signify a singular milestone in the political history of the country.


COPAA Board members with Ambassador Durrani

The Ambassador spoke at length on Pakistan’s commitment to deal with the scourge of terrorism: 80,000 troops are guarding the border and several hundred soldiers have laid down their lives in the fight against terror. About the surge in Taleban activities, he said about 10 percent of the problem could be attributed to Pakistan and the rest to Afghanistan. “The Taleban and Al-Qaeda ‘own the night’ in Afghanistan,” he remarked.
He also touched on the rescue and rehabilitation efforts being carried out in the quake-stricken areas. “A better tomorrow” is the motto of the reconstruction effort. The government is back in action, schools have reopened, and in the next 3-4 years complete normalcy is expected to return. He specifically mentioned the role of the US government in the rescue operations. The rescue helicopters that arrived within 36 hours of the catastrophe are still remembered by the quake victims as “angels of mercy.”
Ambassador Durrani exhorted the community members to be “real Americans – 100% Americans.” You must love the US as well as your mother country, he urged. He also asked the community to forge unity, be active, and tie in with the local political system. The goal was easily attainable as the community on the West Coast is very vibrant and has proved that the American dream can be achieved.


A section of the gathering

In his remarks, Dr. Razaq Chaudhry, President, Council of Pakistan American Affairs, succinctly explained “what COPAA is all about.” The early nineties saw a rapid deterioration in Pak-US ties. As speculations mounted that Pakistan would soon be declared a failed state, anti-Pakistan groups joined hands to get the country declared a terrorist state. Alarmed at the disquieting developments, a group of Pakistanis rose to the occasion: they resolved to manfully grapple with the situation, formed the Council of Pakistan American Affairs, met US legislators, and mounted pressure at Capitol Hill for the passage of the Brown Amendment. Their efforts were crowned with success and were duly acknowledged by the President of Pakistan.
A few years later, COPAA successfully convinced White House officials that President Clinton should not ignore Pakistan while visiting India.
Dr Chaudhry went on to enumerate the services of COPAA to the Pakistani-American community and the people of Pakistan, including the hefty funds raised by the Council for the relief and rehabilitation of quake victims.


Consul Ahsan Wagan and his wife

Raising his voice, the dashing COPAA President assured the community that the Council is not an exclusive club of the elite. It welcomes everyone. “We have set the stage for you” to raise your voice and be heard and recognized, he told the community members.
Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas described the West Coast Pakistani-Americans as a vibrant and dynamic community. He congratulated COPAA “for completing a decade of dedicated service to the community.”

Shaista Khan competently emceed the proceedings while Tanveer Khan gave a good account of himself in conducting the question-and-answer session.

 

Glimpses of the COPAA function (Pictures by YKKB)

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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