Coalition of Pakistani American Organizations Comes up with Key Recommendations for Obama
In the wake of the disaster in Pakistan, four leading Pakistani organizations have joined hands to form a coalition and have put together key recommendations to the Obama Administration for taking crucial steps in the relief efforts that could help the US to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Pakistan. The Coalition of Pakistani American organizations includes Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPPA), Council on Pakistan Relations, Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC) and Pakistani American Leadership Center (Pal-C). The coalition believes that the US should increase its already sizeable assistance package and enhance funding for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts. The United States now has an unprecedented opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan.
Following are a few recommendations that the coalition unanimously agreed upon:
- Increase overall funding for Pakistan relief and reconstruction efforts: Though the US has already committed $90 million in humanitarian aid, this assistance will not reach all of the estimated $20 million Pakistanis affected by the floods. We strongly suggest providing a total of $2.5 billion in aid and $500 million for immediate relief needs, such as clean water, shelter, and infrastructure projects such as building bridges and roads in the flood-effected areas. This funding can come partly from the Kerry-Lugar funds to address the outstanding needs, including longer term reconstruction efforts.
- Provide more helicopters, hovercrafts and direct help in rescue missions: We understand that helicopters and such equipment are in short supply given the demands in nearby Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there is a dire need in Pakistan at this time as areas affected by flood are not reachable through ordinary transportation mechanisms. Increasing the number of available resources in Pakistan would demonstrate to the Pakistani people that the US is of great assistance. This action may also send a powerful message to NATO and others to increase their rescue missions in Pakistan. - Highlight the plight of Pakistanis to the US media and encourage Americans to donate: We urge the Obama Administration to highlight the devastating impact these floods have had on Pakistan and urge Americans to also support the relief efforts. A high level visit from leadership of the Administration, preferably a visit by President Obama, would help strengthen and solidify US-Pakistan Relations.
- Help Rebuild Pakistan by Passing the ROZ Bill: President Obama must urge Congress to pass the ROZ Bill. Textiles and apparels account for more than 60 percent of Pakistan's total exports and 40 percent of manufacturing jobs. By passing this bill, it will not only help Pakistan to get on its feet by creating over a million jobs in the country but would also improve America's shattered image in Pakistan.
- Forgive Pakistan's debt: Pakistan currently owes $1.5B in debt to US. In order to cope with the sharp increase in the poverty level and significant economic downturn caused by the catastrophe, we urge the Administration to give Pakistan debt relief.
Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPPA): Adnan Khan (email@example.com)
Council on Pakistan Relations: Mahera Rahman ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC): Irfan Malik ( email@example.com)
Pakistani American Leadership Center (Pal-C): Taha Gaya ( Taha@pal-c.org)