Saba Trust & Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Team up in Rescue Work
By Saghir Aslam
People in distress get humanitarian aid to lessen their sufferings, thanks to the combined efforts of Saba Trust and Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
In the last 44 years the Saba Trust has made sustained efforts to contribute to the multifarious health, education, and elimination of poverty programs launched in Pakistan. The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been associated in all these undertakings every step of the way.
We are pleased to announce that following the recent displacement of people in the NWFP, the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is again assisting the Saba Trust with humanitarian aid to ease the situation in Pakistan.
Although international and local relief agencies have been providing food and other necessities to the displaced people in the camps, the Saba Trust is striving to help those people who have been sheltered temporarily by the natives of that area or refugees staying in other peoples’ homes in Mardan. In some homes, as many as 8 – 10 families have taken refuge. These people are what we call the forgotten refugees.
Following the 2005 earthquake, the worst ever to hit Pakistan, remote villages in the devastated area were hard to provide any help due to distances and accompanying logistic problems. Then too, and now also, Saba Trust, in collaboration with the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints took the initiative to reach out to the remotely placed villages and provide them relief and succor. Dr William Jackson, a lifetime humanitarian, actually spent time visiting different areas and providing basic necessities to the needy. I vividly remember Dr Jackson had brought suit cases full of toys and clothes from his son’s home who was then stationed in India.
To deal with the present crisis stemming from the displacement of a large number of people in the NWFP, Nate Leishman, Lynn and Keith Atkinson, representing the Church, have come forward again and are zestfully engaged in providing the much needed and timely assistance.
Some recollections of our past efforts are worth mentioning here. Dr Wiliam Jackson ( Deseret International), who was associated with Saba Trust in the post-earthquake 2005 period, said, “ Over the past 17 years of Deseret International existence we have learned that the most important ingredient of a successful program, anywhere in the world, is the person you are working with. Give me a dependable, energetic man of vision and integrity as a partner and together we can make good things happen. Saghir Aslam fits those criteria to a tee. Saghir and I share another philosophy that too much time can sometimes be wasted with overdoses of surveys, ongoing meetings and extensive feasibility discussions. After becoming acquainted with the need and the appropriate players we prefer the ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach.” He further said, “ Mr Saghir is a man of vision, also a man of accomplishments, with no grass growing under his feet.”
In an interfaith journey to Islamabad , Pakistan, Thomas L. Thorkelson said, “For many years I have been privileged to know and be associated with Mr Saghir Aslam. I continue to be touched by his warmth and dedication to the people of his native Pakistan.
Saghir through hard work and dedication, has lived the American Dream. An immigrant with limited English, Saghir worked and excelled in his business and soon found himself blessed with significant financial success. Many so blessed buy that immense home in a prestigious area and drive flashy and expensive cars. Saghir, on the other hand, chose to live modestly and use his wealth unselfishly to bless others with emphasis on those in need in Pakistan. Regarding interfaith, the conference was organized with precision and was an inspiration for both the participants and the large audience. It is a part of Saghir’s mission to promote peace, harmony and appreciation for all faiths and all countries. Truly, he is an ambassador to, and for, both Pakistan and America.”
Mr.Garry Sabin, Chairman of Sabin Children Foundation, has also visited some of our projects and was extremely impressed and helped Saba Trust to move forward in different fields to help the poor and the needy.
The name of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is visible in many places throughout Pakistan on ambulances for which Bishop Tom Thorkelson had made arrangements, including freight, and eventual donation to Saba Trust.
The displaced people and the people in need will always be praying for the office-bearers of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who come forward to help and lessen their sufferings in difficult times. The people being thus helped are the ones who are staying in homes where resources for help have serious limitations and where international agencies too can’t do much. Refugee camps are the focus of such agencies. Saba Trust has always felt it necessary to help the forgotten people, the people who are not so visible in the news but who do need help acutely. May God bless the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that has always been keen to come forward to help us.