San Diego Chapter of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce Inaugurated
Glimpses of the inaugural function of the PCC San Diego Chapter
San Diego , CA: For the Pakistani-American business community of San Diego, January 31, 2009 had a special significance. The day marked the inauguration of the San Diego Chapter of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, USA.
The inaugural ceremony was graced by the presence of the Honorable Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Syed Ibn-e-Abbas. Accompanied by his charming wife and younger son, the Consul General furnished proof of his deep attachment to all well-meaning strivings of Pakistan Americans that seek to improve their lot in the US and, in the process, give a qualitative boost to the development of their country of origin – Pakistan. Also present on the occasion was a contingent of the PCC Houston led by Mr. Gul Faraz Khan, Chairman Past Presidents Council of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA – Houston; and Mr. Abdul Quyyum Khan Kundi, President-Elect Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA, Houston. Well-known poetess Naiyar Apa of Urdu Markaz International, Los Angeles, was also among the distinguished gathering.
The program started with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Sabina Raja, followed by the national anthems of Pakistan and the United States. The Master of Ceremony was Shariq Hussain, VP Media of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, San Diego.
The audience was first addressed by Mr Pervaiz Raja, President, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, San Diego. Mr. Raja described the basic intent behind the formation of the PCC San Diego Chapter and discussed its future plans. The objectives mentioned, but not limited to, are: (1) to promote networking and interaction between members of the Pakistani-American community, (2) arrange workshops for potential entrepreneurs, (3) hold seminars for business owners to help promote their businesses, and (4) hold business expos for visiting Pakistani businesses and delegations. His passion for the service of his homeland and adopted homeland was manifestly apparent.
Mr Raja was followed by Abdul Quyyum Khan Kundi, President-Elect, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, USA. Mr. Kundi spotlighted the national charter of the parent organization. He exhorted members of the newly inaugurated San Diego Chapter to do their utmost for the growth of businesses in Pakistan. Mr. Gul Faraz Khan was the next speaker. He introduced Consul General Ibne Abbas to the audience and requested him to share his views with the San Diego audience.
Consul General Ibn-e-Abbas often casts a spell on the audience when he speaks. His speech on the memorable Jan 31, 2009 inaugural function was equally scintillating. Rather than presenting a mere monologue, he engaged the audience by addressing the issues faced by all Pakistanis living in America. In a voice tinged with emotion, the charismatic and handsome diplomat exhorted the audience thus: “ Pakistan is our distinction in this society. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. We are what we are today because of Pakistan and we should be proud of our heritage”. He emphasized that as Pakistani expatriates, we should contribute our best to the American society so that the Americans can see Pakistan in a frame of reference other than the one wrongly presented by the War of Terror.
His exhortations were well-meaning and many. “Don’t be apologetic. Stand up and be counted…Be good Pakistanis. You represent an ancient civilization, culture and religion. Be proud of your heritage. Dispel ignorance. Build bridges, not walls…
“The Los Angeles Consulate will always be there to support you, assist you in every way. We are for you any day, any hour, 365 days of the year, seven days a week. Try us, test us …”
A wholesome change has taken place since he took over as Consul General. Shariq Hussain, the emcee of the evening, appeared to convey the feelings of many Pakistanis settled in the LA area when he made the succinct remark, “Ibne Abbas Sahib ki wajah sae LA Consulate Pakistan ki sarzameen maen tabdeel ho gaya hae.”
His speech was followed by presentation of shields to members of the Executive Board of Directors (Sufian Munir – General Secretary, Haroon Ilyas – VP Liaison, Rashid Khan – VP Membership, Shariq Hussain – VP Media and Pervaiz Raja – President) and members of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, San Diego. Ms. Zunaira Munir presented a vote of thanks to the Consul General and his family, anointed board of directors, chamber members, event sponsors and attendees. The evening got spicier with a delicious dinner served by Mr. Khawar and Co. of Bismillah Restaurant San Diego. The proceedings concluded with the singing of popular songs and ghazals by Mr. Arshad Ali and his wife Shazia.