A Beautiful Image of Pakistan on the Tapestry of Canada
By C. Naseer Ahmad
From left: Lahore Fort, Calgary skyline, and customers at a village restaurant
Engines of growth are steadily humming in Calgary, Canada, while many cities around the world are lagging behind. Energy is what fuels the remarkable growth. And, energy comes from more than the natural resources in Alberta. It is the human energy that makes Calgary the beautiful city it is.
Harmoniously weaving into the Canadian society, thousands of Pakistani immigrants are finding success in this vibrant city of 2.5 million. Working as doctors, engineers, teachers, cab drivers, real estate agents and businessmen, Pakistani immigrants contribute to the welfare of Canada – rather than being dependant upon welfare.
A palpable rush of adrenaline runs through the veins of these Pakistani immigrants upon seeing a float carrying “Lahore Fort Pakistan” applauded by thousands of cheering Canadians in the world famous annual “Stampede” parade. Those watching at home felt the same pride watching the event live on CBC TV.
Three weekly Urdu newspapers (Nawa-i-Pakistan, Express and Pakistan Post) that one can pick up at ethnic restaurants and grocery shops demonstrate the vitality of the community. Hard working editors like Ahmad Shakeel pound the streets and even distribute the papers. Despite the pressures of the job, he will shake hands with visitors at the Samosa Factory, in the West Winds Shopping Center.
From neighborhoods like Abbeydale, Forest Lawn, Martindale, Sunnyside and Signal Hill Pakistani immigrants are spread all over Calgary. They seem to be getting along fine with their neighbors. “My Polish neighbor is eager to mow my lawn or shovel the snow even before I get a chance”, says Nadeem. His wife Atifa, a graduate of the National College of Arts Lahore teaches at local schools and admires how the whole neighborhood is in love with their one-year daughter Zoya.
“ Pakistan Canada Association does not differentiate the community on the bases of religion and political boundaries. May Allah give strength to this community and make Pakistan prosper. AMEEN,” declares the website. It is no wonder that people get along well.
Hard work and focus on goals appear to be the hallmarks of Pakistani immigrants’ success, many of who have made fortunes from nothing.
Humility and a clear absence of hubris are found in these Pakistani immigrants. They are not trapped by traditions. Rather, an intelligent adoption of traditions provides them a solid foundation for success. In doing so, they have created a beautiful image of Pakistan on the tapestry of Canada.