Farewell Party for Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas and Mrs. Abbas
A Pakistan Link Report
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
Pictures above: Members of the community bid farewell to the outgoing Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas and Mrs. Sadaf Abbas at Reef on the Water, Long Beach
A `United Farewell Party' in honor of outgoing Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas and Mrs.
Sadaf Abbas was held on Sunday, November 15, at the entrancing Reef on the Water, Long Beach "to display our unity as Southern Californian Organizations that the Consul General has been promoting since his arrival three years ago".
Emphasizing the display of unity "that the Consul General has been promoting ... " the invitation to the party was a befitting tribute to the strivings of Syed Ibne Abbas.
Indisputably, his efforts to bond the community together precipitously bore fruit. His well-meaning exhortation to mix with other mainstream groups proved rewarding in more ways than one. His stout and spirited defense of Pakistan at various forums helped in dispelling persistent misperceptions about Islamabad and the people of Pakistan - both within and without. His infectious enthusiasm and unwavering display of patriotism endeared him to members of the community - all and sundry.
At social gatherings and literary functions, the Consul General stood out as one who had a rich cultural background - his strength did not manifest in his clipped BBC accent but his profound and well-meaning pronouncements in chaste Urdu.
Ungrudgingly, he made us proud of our heritage and country of origin.
He was an able and inspirational ambassador of the country that every diplomat is expected to be, but regretfully, often, falls short of.
The farewell party at the scenic Reef on the Water was a memorable one with a large number of associations and groups paying rich tributes to Consul General Syed Ibne Abbas and his dignified wife. The outgoing Consul General was presented many plaques and showered accolades on the occasion. Said Ihsan and Nahid Majeed, "... The Pakistani Americans in California consider him a role model and thank him profoundly for his hard work, dedication and utmost contribution ..." in a newspaper message. The Majeeds aptly summed up the feelings of the community.
Propitiously timed, Pakistan Link's Editor Akhtar Mahmud Faruqui put a few questions to CG Abbas about his tenure in California. Below, excerpts from the CG's answers:
Q.1. What do you see as the highlights of your stay in California?
A. "I have had an excellent tenure as the Consul General of Pakistan on the West Coast. It was professionally rewarding and provided an opportunity to interact with best Pakistani diaspora, as a matter of fact, a role model community. The most significant achievement of my stay in Los Angeles was that the Pakistani-American community united on one platform. An earnest effort was made to involve them in mainstream at political and social levels.
"I was also able to improve the Consulate's consular services which includes a new approach in rendering with the consular services at the Consulate, availability of consular services around the clock for Pakistanis, and, last but not the least, improving accessibility through telephone, e-mail, mail and personal interaction.
"I was humbled, when the generous Pakistani-American community recently on my request donated over $ 170,000 for the displaced people of Malakand Division."
Q. 2. How did you find the community?
A. "The Pakistani-American community on the West Coast is our pride. This vibrant community comprises professionals including doctors, engineers, IT experts, entrepreneurs and successful individuals.
This community is a great untapped resource for us and by uniting them and making them proactive in the mainstream of the US society will be a win-win situation not only for the diaspora itself but for the motherland."
Q.3. What specific advice would you like to give to the community?
A. "I would urge the community members to become proactive and form an integral part of the larger community. The civil society in the US wields great strength and their initiatives on political, economic and international relations matter great deal for policy planners who factor in these inputs in overall policies. All initiative generates at grassroots level and travels upward. Therefore, integration into the mainstream society is crucially important. Pakistani diaspora of late has achieved strength in numbers and its social status; hence, it is critical that they may move to the next stage of their role in the society by becoming a part and parcel of the larger community."
Q. 4. How do you see the future course of Pak-US relations?
A. "Pakistan-US friendly ties have a long history. I perceive many positive things happening and hope that these robust relations are translated and strengthened further into sustainable cooperative relations.
We would like our relations to be multifaceted in all fields and not focused on in any one area of cooperation.
We would like to strengthen our bilateral relations, especially the trade ties in which Pakistan can benefit a great deal by exporting to the vast and affluent US market. Progress in this direction will be beneficial for both of our countries and an early signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), will place the historic relations on solid footings."
The outgoing Consul General is to take over as Ambassador of Pakistan in New Zealand. We wish him success and God's choicest blessings in his new undertaking. He will be missed much both by those who were closely associated with him during his stay as well as those who watched him from a distance and admired him unfailingly.