COPAA Fundraiser for the Displaced People of the NWFP
By Shaista Khan
Pict ures by Faiz Ahmed and YKKB


Pictures above: Glimpses of the fundraiser

“ Traumatized innocents, displaced from the comfort of their shabby homes, are further hurled mercilessly into life’s unpleasant chasms. Unbearable temperatures and the onslaught of mosquito season have added to their miseries. ‘Panah’ is being found in the camps set up, or in the much overcrowded homes of relatives,’ who are already struggling to survive.”

This was the message sent out to the entire Pakistan community in Southern California calling for participation in an emergency fundraiser.

Two prominent community spokesmen, one from the east and one from the west, echoed each other’s thoughts and words resonating the walls of the Ballroom at the Anaheim Sheraton Sunday June 14, both serving a purposeful cause.

The first is Fakhar-e-Alam, a Pakistani actor, VJ and singer host of TV shows and appearing in military/governmental sponsored music shows. Alam, a social worker, has a huge fan base and is respected for his untiring relief efforts in the wake of October 8, 05 Earthquake in Pakistan.

The second, Anwar A Khan, Vice President, Fund Development for Islamic Relief who has been with IRW for many years, pioneered many of the projects, visited Pakistan on various occasions, and has spoken to many of the beneficiaries.

Both echoed the words that for 27 years the Pakistani camps were gracious hosts for the Afghan refugees and now ironically would provide refuge to the people of Pakistan.

The evening commenced with Tilawat by Ismail Keekeebhai (COPAA Board Director), followed by a speech by Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA) president Adnan Khan who briefed the audience about the purpose and objective of the emergency fundraiser. Adnan Khan worked zestfully and was instrumental in putting the event together in such a short time with the help of other COPAA Board Directors.

Javed Iqbal, COPAA Board Director, emceed the evening and introduced Consul General of Pakistan Syed Ibne Abbas who thanked the audience for their support. He was followed by the main guest presenter, Fakhar-e Alam, who went on to introduce all the speakers and encouraged the audience to donate.

Organizations taking the stage were International Medical Corps, HelpCounts, Saba Trust and Islamic Relief who poured out facts to a disciplined audience, painting a somber picture of the three million displaced Pakistani men, women and children. Each presenter emphasized his area of expertise from simple rations to complex medical aid, requesting the audience to take heed and donate. In such a short time facts and situations were plated out and found hard to digest by the attentive audience, due to the enormity of the dire situation.

Plagued with trauma, various medical conditions with women and children bearing the brunt, the situation is worsening hourly. The updates presented enabled the charitable to decide their donations, all encouraged by Fakhar-e-Alam’s motivational words.

A wonderful team of spirited volunteers from Islamic Relief and the Pakistan Student Associations of Southern California came together to ensure the smooth flowing of the event.

Supporting guests of this community event included: Pakistan American Chambers of Commerce; Karachi Club; Pakistan Link; Urdu Times; Pakistan News; Pakistan Sheriff Advisory Council; Pakistani American Arts Council; Safeer-e-Pakistan; Urdu Writers Society; UFPID; Pakistan Arts Council and MGYW, to name a few. Support from individual prominent businessmen and women of the community supplemented the effort of these organizations.

The final speaker of the evening, Iqbal Theba, a local Los Angeles-based Pakistani actor took the stage for a final push for donation. His amusing clips from some of the TV programs were welcomed by the guests.

Dinner and décor were kept simple to show feeling and support for the plight of the unfortunates. COPAA thanks all the organizations and individuals that made this emergency event happen in such true spirit.

As the simple candles in the center pieces flickered to the last ember, and though a lot was said, much still needs to be done. Donation is still needed, we may all go home and easily forget the plight of these Internally Displaced People (IDPs), who have months of hardship to endure, not knowing where their next cup of water, solid meal or basic sleep will come from. There are 69,000 women who are to give birth in these camps in the coming months.

The above named charity organizations are continuously taking do nations, some can even take pledges and process credit cards.

My request to you is to please donate generously. This is “our baby” and we have to care for it.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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