Pakistan to Emerge as
a Liberal, Progressive State: Ambassador Durrani Tells COPAA
A Pakistan Link Report
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
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
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
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.
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
Shaista Khan competently emceed the proceedings while Tanveer
Khan gave a good account of himself in conducting the question-and-answer