HDF Michigan Chapter Raises over $200,000
By M. Shahid Yousuf
Once again, the Pakistani American expatriate community of Michigan continued its charitable mission by attending the 12th Annual HDF (Human Development Foundation) Fundraising banquet at the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom, Dearborn on May 22nd 2010.
The gathering consisted of community leaders, business owners and largely members of various professions such as doctors and engineers as well as members of the allied medical fields.
The total raised at the function was $202,000 and further commitments are likely to make this $ 225,000. This is an impressive sum considering that Michigan has been hit hard by current economic conditions with an unemployment rate of 15%, budget deficit of $ 980 million and spending cuts of $ 1 billion. In such times of economic certainty people hold on to disposable income but Pakistani expatriates delivered on their commitment to Pakistan.
The keynote speaker Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham (UK) raised important concerns of the Pakistani Diaspora and the impact of geopolitical fall out from the Soviet Union’s occupation and then later expulsion from Afghanistan.
Lord Nazir Ahmed said that he was happy to see the financial, individual and economic success of Pakistani Americans but he remarked, “What I would like to see is for you to be a part of the political process of the United States.”
Earlier, he disclosed that by now there were 8 Muslim members in the House of Commons in Britain. “It is time that young people from Pakistan are encouraged to participate.”
Recounting many anecdotes in his life he narrated that when he entered the House of Lords, he did so with a copy of the Holy Qur’an in his hand and that he took an oath on the Holy Qur’an and obtained a prayer room on the first day that he entered the House of Lords. This, he observed, was a change and that change can only be brought about if you are a part of the political process.
He said that the reason he is here is “because of Human Development Foundation does fantastic work.” “It gives free education and health care and empowers the poorest people in Pakistan.” He said, “We owe it to Pakistan, we owe it to the motherland. Of course we are Americans, of course we are British and we participate in the society and we make a big contribution in health service, in business, in politics, in social activity of the United States.” He asked, “But what do we do for the country that has given us everything? This is your time!” “Today is your time to show if you really love Pakistan and if you really care for the poorest people of Pakistan. Make your contribution tonight and give your contribution to Human Development Foundation. He reminded the audience of the advice of Prophet Mohammad who said, “Best amongst mankind is one who brings benefits to others.” “I urge you that tonight is your time when you must make that donation.”
He said that Pakistan has gone through a difficult time. “I defend the Pakistan people. These are not the problems of the Pakistani people. This was not started by Pakistan. If the Soviet Union had not invaded Afghanistan and if the worried Europe and the United States had not come to Pakistan and asked Pakistan to fight their war against the Soviet Union, Pakistan would not be in this situation.” “ Pakistan fought the war on behalf of the West, Europe and also America. Pakistan has made the contribution , Pakistan has made the sacrifice.” “Today is the time when we pay back Pakistan and the Pakistani people.”
He said that the misfortune of Pakistan is that the political leaders no matter what political party they belong to do not reduce the poverty of the nation but reduce their own poverty. He said if you looked at the cars of these leaders, their bank balances, their suits and the ties which they change many times during the day you get an idea of their lifestyles. He said that the MNA’s and Ministers should be imposed conditions such as their own children should be educated in the government schools, that they should be compelled to seek medical treatment in government hospitals and be compelled to live amongst those from whom they have sought votes. If these conditions were imposed then you will not get “this type of people that are there now.” Referring to ‘these kinds of political leaders from Pakistan’ he said if they have stomach ache they come to Washington DC and New York, that if they have a headache they come to London. These people do not live in the real world. “Over the years I do not see any change”. He said the Government of Pakistan spends less than 2% of GNP (gross national product) on education.
Dr. Khalid Riaz, the founding President of HDF, said that the backbone of HDF was in Detroit even though HDF had been conceived in Chicago. He illustrated his speech with slides showing that the quality of life and health in HDF-administered areas had better measurable outcomes in areas of maternal and child health.
HDF, an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was a present to the people of Pakistan on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan. At that occasion during 1997 APPNA summer meeting in Chicago the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq was the chief guest. Dr. Haq is the originator of HDI (human development index) a worldwide recognized measure of well being and economic progress and in summary of quality of the life of humans in various countries. HDI is used by United Nations and numerous researchers and in academia .