Consulate General of Pakistan & Pakistan Link/Urdu Link
Organize Memorable Fundraiser and Eid Mela
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
Pictures by Rubina Faruqui, Shafeeq Niazi & Nighat Ali





Anaheim, CA: The forecast of thundershowers did not dampen their spirits. Nor did the overcast sky and sporadic drizzle cast a pall of gloom or despair. Instead, the charged Pakistani-American community came in droves to the tented venue of the Flood Relief Fundraiser and Eid Mela organized by the Pakistan Consulate General in collaboration with Pakistan Link/Urdu Link at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim on November 12.

By 4 pm, the sprawling tented venue was bulging at its seams, nay, overflowing with spirited groups of Pakistan-Americans, who had converged at the Phoenix Club to support a noble cause and to revel in family fun.

It was an entrancing spectacle rarely witnessed in the Greater Los Angeles Area. No wonder all those who were associated with its organization - Consul General Riffat Masood, Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz, Pakistan Link/Urdu Link President Arif Mansuri, Samin Faruqi, Majeed Sheikh, Javed Ismail Keekeebhai, Sameer Moosani, Yousef Keekeebhaii, Abida Ahmed et al. - earned the gratitude of the community at the end of the day.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani especially flew from Washington, DC, to attend the extravaganza. He warmly applauded the organizers and freely mixed with the community.

Consul General Riffat Masood endeared herself to the gathering as she greeted all and sundry with warmth. Consul Dr Ejaz appeared in an expansive mood while his dignified wife, Dr Erum Ejaz, shuttled from the stage to the floor with becoming propriety. Samin Faruqi, who has successfully organized the Independence Day programs in Los Angeles with his United for Pakistan Independence Day team for several years, demonstrated his usual organizational acumen and gets the lion’s share of the credit for organizing this highly successful event. In all his undertakings on the day he was ably assisted by his devoted wife, Rubina Faruqi. Arif Mansuri, owner of Pakistan Link and Urdu Link, who was recuperating from open heart surgery performed barely weeks earlier, surprised everyone with his presence. Looking fit and a few pounds lighter, he appeared handsomer than before by the side of his supportive wife Debbie and daughter Jazmyn.

Zafar Abbas and Haya Faruqui, as usual, excelled in the role of the emcee of the lively proceedings. The other organizers were visibly on their toes as they attended to the arrangements, however trivial their nature.

In speeches and observations on the occasion the strivings of the Consulate General in arranging the fundraiser for the flood victims of Pakistan were warmly applauded. So was the support extended to the pressing initiative by Pakistan Link/Urdu Link.

The speakers paid tributes to the continued tenacity and dedication of the proprietor of the paper, Arif Mansuri, to the cause of the community through his publication despite his having had to undergo an open heart surgery only a few weeks back. They noted the high standard of objectivity of the paper in its news reports and the exceptional perception and insight of its contributors in their analyses of developments back home and elsewhere.

Pakistan Link is “instrumental in providing the US administration the evaluation of Pakistan foreign policy and its stance on national and international issues … It is in my knowledge that the editorials and the news analysis published in Pakistan Link are accorded serious consideration at the policy levels of the USA Administration…,” commented a senior diplomat. The paper fulfills this role and serves as an effective link between the community and the motherland.

Embellishing the stage was a large green and white Pakistan flag with the crescent and star. Hanging closely, and deservedly so, was a large Pakistan Link banner.

Several individuals and groups joined hands with the organizers to contribute to the success of the evening. They included generous donors like Adil Khan of I Color Printing, Dr Khalid Basheer Ahmad, Jamal Khawaja of JFK Realty, Shoaib Kothawala, Dr Asif Mahmood of APPNA California Chapter, COPAA, Dr Razzaq Chaudhry, Akmal Abbasi of Madina Islamic Center, Anus Shah of Shan Masala, et al. Riffat Khan of the Karachi University Alumni Association arranged a quiz program befitting the occasion while Atiya Niazi led the national anthem chorus and later recited a poem glorifying the role of women in national life. Mr Anwar Memon recited a soul-lifting naat. A spectacular fashion show displaying Pakistani dresses was arranged by Pomi. Tahir Hussain and Roohi sang popular songs to the delight of the gathering.

Another attraction thoroughout the event was the drawing of the raffle prizes. These prizes were donated by several community businesses and individuals and included ‘Return Umrah Ticket’ by Akmal Abbasi of Madina Islamic Center, ‘40” Flat Panel TV’ by Jamal Khawaja of JFk Realty, ‘Gold Chain’ by Abida Ahmed, Silver Necklace by Shalimar Jewelers, ‘2 Night Stay at Hilton’ by Shahid Kiyani of Hilton San Diego Airport, ‘Sunday Brunch for 2’ by Marriot Long Beach, ‘Ladies Dress’ by Mirage Collection, Silver Jewelry by Khatun Collection, etc. The grand prize of Umrah Tickets was won by 10-year old Halima Ejaz, daughter of Dr. Erum and Dr Khalid Ejaz who spent all her Eidi and pocket money on buying the raffle tickets.

More than 25 stalls displaying jewelry, clothes and handicrafts added to the ambiance and did roaring business. So did the food stalls: by 11 pm all food items had been sold out. It was a most pleasing family outing and spirited display of love for Pakistan. Even the kids were a part of the revelry and boisterous merrymaking. The rides and games were aplenty.

Safeer-e-Pakistan of Geo TV acted as the media advisor and promoted the event along with the prominent community newspapers Urdu Times, Pakistan News, Pakistan Link and Urdu Link.

The event was a tremendous success and the evening turned out to be a memorable one. Pakistan Link/Urdu Link would like to thank the community for making this event such a great success and and extend sincere gratitude to Consul General , Mrs Riffat Masood, Samin Faruqi, and all volunteers and sponsors without whose wholehearted support this event would not have been possible. Special thanks are also due to Mr Zafar Abbas, Bureau Chief, Urdu Times, and his wife Farah Anwar, for their support and untiring efforts.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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