APNNA Convention in St. Louis Sets New Records
By Dr Mujahid Ghazi
St. Louis , June 29 th, 2011: The 34 th Annual APPNA Summer Convention made a new history. For the first time ever there was an Indian participation as well. In the chapter night on the first day of the convention the entertainer was from India and so was the entertainer at the grand banquet on Saturday. The president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Sunita Kanumury was among the special guests invited to the Convention.
This was the first event on the opening day. Dr. Mujtaba Qazi, Chair of the Chapter Night Host Committee and Dr. Shabbir Safdar, Chair of the 34 th Annual Summer Meeting Host Committee, welcomed the guests. Dr. Nancy Holecamp talked about ‘Age-Related Muscular Degeneration’. Tahir Zafar, President of Al-Shifa Foundation of North America (AFNA), gave a presentation highlighting the work AFNA is doing to help Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospitals in Pakistan. He asked the audience to support the cause of eliminating reversible blindness in Pakistan. President of APPNA 2011, Dr. Manzoor Tariq, commended the work various chapters had done during the past year. He said the work was only possible because of dedicated team work. Later, Chapters were introduced and awards distributed. Omkar with Rehan entertained the audience with hit Indian songs which made people dance into the early hours of the next day.
APPNA Alliance Dinner and Fashion Show
APPNA Alliance is an Association of the spouses of APPNA members and is famous for its charitable and welfare work in Pakistan. This year the Annual Dinner attracted a large audience. Professor Shaheena Asif was the keynote speaker. She talked in detail about the health and social issues of women in Pakistan. She has written two books ‘The Golden Cage’ and the ‘The Ordinary Woman’ with emphasis on women issues. Asim Jofa, famous designer from Pakistan, was the main attraction. His clothing line reflects the Moghal Era’s majestic designing with modern fusion. It was preceded by an award ceremony. The president of Alliance Fatima Elahi welcomed the guests and commended her team for putting a great show for families of APPNA members.
Entertainment Night and APPNA Aalmi Mushaira 2011
The Entertainment night on Friday was a major attraction for many, especially the young crowd. Initially Arif Lohar and young Sufi singer Sanam Marvi were supposed to be performing but due to visa issues they couldn’t make it. Instead Raaga Boyz, Rafaqat A. Khan and Salma Khan performed and got a standing ovation from the crowd. A little later in the evening, APPNA Aalmi Mushaira was scheduled with famous poets from Pakistan like Kishwar Naheed, Amjad Islam Amjad, Anwer Masood and Khalid Masood Khan. Professor Waseem Brelvi came from India. Poets from the US included Farhat Shereen, Javed Akbar, Sabiha Saba, Humaira Rehman, Inamul Haq Javed, Abdur Rehman Abd, Latafat Hamzavi, Rafiuddin Raz and Anwar Ahmed Anwar. Kishwar Naheed presided over the Mushaira. Later, a plaque was given to her by the President of APPNA Dr. Manzoor Tariq. It was the first time that APPNA had a woman presiding over the Mushaira.
The hall was also packed to its full capacity. There was an issue with time management and Nizamat. There were multiple Nazims. Shahid Ali started the Mushaira, Farhat Shereen followed him. Javed Akbar did the middle order followed by Shahid Ali again and Naeem Kohli. At times, it appeared as if there was a tussle of who gets the chance. This is against the discipline of a Mushaira or any literary meeting to have more than one Nazim. That’s the reason none of the Nazims could do justice to their work. The Mushaira was scheduled for two sessions but due to the poor time management only one session was held. People who wanted to listen to more of the poets coming from abroad were disappointed.
Main Banquet Dinner and Entertainment
APPNA’s main banquet on Saturday was the grand finale of the Convention. There were approximately 2500 guests present in the main convention hall with a beautiful stage and backdrop. With bullet proof protective glasses along the podium it looked like a GOP or Democratic Party convention. American and international dignitaries and Pakistani American power brokers, political and social activists, all were present.
President of APPNA Dr. Manzoor Tariq spoke about the achievements of APPNA and its contribution to the American society. US Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, referring to Pakistani American relationship said, “We got to stop whining about it and do something. We’ve got to act and remain committed to getting something done. We can’t just go into our separate corners and complain and be cynical.” He further said, “We need to use this time of relationship-building to try to prevent the conditions that lead to such a horrific tragedy.”
Awards were given to Dr. Meher Tabatabai, Dr. Afzal Arain, Dr. Waheed Akbar, Dr. Mehmmood Khan, Dr. Asif Mohammad and Dr. Ayesha Faryal Zafar for their service to humanity, community and Pakistan.
The most inspiring, assertive and optimistic speech was delivered by Dr. Mehmood Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Global Nutrition Group and Chief Scientific Officer, PepsiCo who has the advantage of being a physician and corporate expert at the same time.
The newly elected President-Elect of APPNA 2012, Javed Suleman, also addressed the attendees. He assured the APPNA membership that he will strive to make APPNA a more democratic and open organization.
Chairman of the host committee of the 34 th Annual Summer Meeting Dr. Shabbir Safdar also spoke on the occasion.
The dinner was catered by Sabri Nihari of Chicago. Mr. Ali, the chief chef and Junaid Butt. were there with their full team. Sabri has the reputation of serving well and enough on time without any catastrophe. They deserve commendation.
SMC Alumni Dinner
Friday evening was dedicated to Alumni dinners. This scribe being part of the Sindh Medical College Alumni, attended its dinner. Famous compeer of radio and TV Naghmana Farrukh (Naghmana Shafi of the past) emceed the event. Dr. Asif Mohammad introduced Professor Tahir Andrabi, an economist working on a project to improve education in Pakistan.
Dr. Saeed Akhtar, an SMC Alumni who is now working in Shifa Islambad, presented his vision of building a hospital in Punjab, like the one Adeeb Rizvi has built, to serve the poor and needy population there.
This scribe made an appeal to the alumni to help Islamic Relief by sponsoring orphans in Pakistan and other parts of the world. Later, most of the alumni did sponsor the orphans.
Newly elected President-Elect for 2012 Dr. Javed Suleman, also an SMC alumni, delivered his last speech before the election. He thanked the alumni for their unflinching support. Naghmana read an email message from Dr. Sohail Siddiqi who is presently in Pakistan and is working on the Sindh Medical University and other projects.
APPNA General Body and Announcement of Results
The APPNA General Body Meeting was attended by the Association members on Saturday. Besides many issues of concern, election results were announced at 5 PM. Dr. Javed Suleman won the election for President-Elect 2012 by only five votes. Dr. Mubashir Rana boxed 788 against 793 of Javed Suleman. He didn’t concede and will likely appeal to have some Canadian votes counted which were delayed due to a transportation strike. Dr. Asif Rehman was already elected as unopposed General Secretary for 2012. Dr. Fareed Qazi won the election for Treasurer 2012 by boxing 929 votes against his opponent Dr. Jalil Khan who got 650 votes.
Social Forums at the Summer Meeting of APPNA
Two Social Forums were organized at the 34 th Annual Summer Meeting. One was jointly organized by DOGANA, Dow Medical College Alumni and QAMCAANA, Quaid e Azam Medical College Alumni. The topic was “ Grassroots Political Activism and Leadership: Moving beyond political Fundraising”.
The panel consisted of Mr. Manzur Aejaz; veteran journalist and Democratic Party activist from Virginia; Mr.Saqib Ali, former elected delegate to Maryland House of Delegates from Maryland; Mr. Haris Ahmed, Founder and Managing Partner of Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc from Chicago, IL; Mr. Zeeshan Javed Hafeez, first Pakistani-American to run for State Office in Florida in 2010 when he represented the Democratic Party in Florida’s 67 th District; Dr. Adil Jamal Akhter, an APPNA physician and an activist and President of Pakistan Association of America of Michigan.
It was a well-organized event and attracted political and social activists who interacted with the panel and discussed issues of concern.
The second Social Forum was organized by American Pakistan Physicians for Justice and Democracy (APPJD) who invited Sherbano Taseer and Umar Cheema to share their experience and thoughts. The room was full of people with American journalists attending also. Umar Cheema is the journalist who was abducted and abused by Pakistani intelligence agents last September. He gave a very detailed account of what had happened to him in those days. Sherbano Taseer, daughter of late Governor Salman Taseer also talked about her experience of the days following her father’s assassination. Ethan Casey was also present at this meeting and was given the Solidarity Award by American Pakistani Physicians for Justice & Democracy (APPJD) . The inscription on the award says: “For believing the world is one … and having the courage to prove it” Ethan rightly deserved this appreciation.
Mushaira at Drs Massarath Moinuddin and Nadeem Parker’s Residence
St. Louis , June 29 th, 2011: A private Mushaira was organized at the residence of Drs. Massarath Moinuddin and Nadeem Parker. Prominent residents of the area attended this event. Khalid Masood Khan, Anwar Khan Anwar, this scribe, Amjad Islam Amjad and Anwer Masood presented their kalam. Khalid Masood Khan and Anwer Masood made the people laugh their hearts out. The dinner was delicious, so was the dessert. Nizamat was done by Shahid Ali. Dr. Massarath Moinuddin thanked the poets and friends for being part of this memorable evening.
ISNA Mushaira at Rosemont Convention Center
Chicago , July 3 rd, 2011: The International Mushaira at ISNA lasted less than two hours by starting promptly and giving more time to the celebrity Pakistani poets Amjad Islam Amjad and Anwer Masood. The great time management by the Nazim of the Mushaira, Mr. Amin Haider, set this new record. The Mushaira was presided over by known na’atia poet Hamid Amrohi.
Other poets who contributed included Sajid Choudhry , Dr. Sadiq Naqvi , Khalid Khan, Faizan Haq, Dr. Mujahid Ghazi , Dr. Lateef Saif , Hashmat Sohail , Naheed Virk , Mubeen Munawwar , Amjad Islam Amdad , Anwer Masood , Dr. Abidullah Ghazi. Though it was attended by approximately 500 people the number is small considering the thousands of ISNA attendees. It looks like the mushaira was not publicized well by the ISNA Convention organizers. Amin Haider was at his best as Nazim of the mushaira.
APPNA List Gup Shup
The most successful Talent Show: What a show? Several hundred members of one of the largest chat group of Pakistani physicians ‘APNA LIST’ met during the 34th Annual Summer meeting to show their talents. It was one of the most successful and well attended events. Dr. Shahid Lateef and Dr. Fariya Afreedi conducted the program with such a perfect manner that no one was ready to leave even after the last talent performed. People did songs, jokes, mimicry and dances to win a fully loaded ipad. Omar Naseeb was kept until last as a final act of a Bhangra and Twist mix. This scribe also presented his poem. Other presenters included Dr. Shazia Nawaz, Dr. Aisha Faryal Zafar, Dr. Toor, Dr. Taqi and many others.