Chicago ’s Pakistani Community Raises Funds to Help SWAT IDP
By Ahmed Shehzad Khan

Pakistani community raises funds to help SWAT IDPs

For the past three decades, Pakistan has played host to the largest population of refugees in the world. In 1979, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan triggered a mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and Iran; more than five million Afghan refugees entered Pakistan and three million went to Iran. According to the UNHCR census data, more than three million of Afghan refugees still remain in Pakistan, and presently with the number of internally displaced people (IDP) surging past 3.5 million, Pakistan faces the biggest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century but the help and support offered by the international community and the United Nations response has been very inadequate.

To help ease the pain and suffering of the people of SWAT, the Pakistani-American community has organized many fundraising events all across the country. The Pakistani-American community of Chicago land participated in a fundraising dinner organized by Turning Point, Inc. Burr Ridge, Illinois.

Professor Naqi Akhter was emcee of the event. He welcomed the guests and thanked them for their efforts and participation. The keynote speaker was Ms. Humaira Masihuddin, a lawyer, anthrapologist and a social activist based in Islamabad. Ms. Masihuddin in her speech provided an eyewitness account of the pain and suffering of the people of SWAT and urged the participants to donate generously to help their brothers and sisters in need.

Dr. Mujahid Ghazi also addressed the audience and urged them to show their humanitarian spirit to help the displaced people of SWAT. Professor Usman Ghani, coordinator of the event, thanked all organizers who helped him in planning and organizing the dinner. He praised KFC and Sabri Nehari for providing the food and MONTY’s Banquet for providing their premises for hosting the event.

After the dinner the participants were entertained by Chicago’s prominent singers Shehzad Ahmed, Zaeem Khawaja, Rekha Borkar, Vikas Falnikar and Dr.Jaleel who presented many contemporary and classical Urdu songs, ghazals and Sufi kafees. The dinner was attended by a large number of participants from Chicago and suburbs. The community collectively raised more than $30 thousand. Any future contributions to help SWAT IDPs can be mailed to Turning Point, 6847 Fieldstone, and Burr Ridge, IL 60527.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.