LA Consulate General Organizes Impressive Pakistan Day Celebrations
By Akhtar Mahmud Faruqui
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja

March 23rd 1940 was a singularly important milestone in the history of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

Seventy-two years later, the celebration of the momentous day at the picturesque Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles on March 23 2012, turned out to be a truly stirring event bringing the community and the diplomatic corps together to recall the significance of the epoch-making event.

It was a splendid show with Consul General Mrs Riffat Masood, Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz, and diligent Consulate staffers rising to the occasion to demonstrate that despite the tumultuous happenings of the last decade Pakistan was a country on the march. Visibly on their toes, each individual made sincere strivings to spotlight the heritage and promise of the young nation and its sustained drive for growth.

The multinational assemblage of diplomats, consular staff and city officials, appeared visibly impressed while members of the community looked emotionally charged as they joined the Consulate staff in singing the national anthem: --- Qom, mulk, sultanat/ Painda tabinda bad/ Shad bad manzile murad ...

The VIPs in the gathering included Professor Stanley Wolpert, Sheriff Lee Baca, Chairman Yarslovasky, Representative Wickman, City Attorney Trutunich, Mayor Villalobis, George Novinger of the Office of Foreign Missions and Nicola Porreca, Deputy Director of the State Department who had flown in especially from Washington to attend the event.

Consul General Riffat Masood looked gorgeous in her traditional Pakistani attire. So did Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz in his elegant black sherwani. The CG’s speech was scintillating and touched many hearts. A few excerpts:

“We are in the process of changing the narrative in Pakistan. We are now a democracy and in the last four years have tackled Constitutional issues that had bedeviled and crippled our democracy for more than three decades. Though nascent, I see the future of a robust democracy in Pakistan, through a vibrant civil society, an independent media and most importantly, a strong and independent judiciary. You may be aware that at present the Prime Minister is facing contempt of court charges in the Supreme Court, a thing unheard of in Pakistan…

“There can be no doubt that any enduring partnership can only be built and sustained on the strength of a close people-to-people relationship. A Pakistan-US relationship that touches the lives of ordinary people, responds to their vital needs, and makes a positive difference in the pursuit of their aspirations for a better life, would form the solid foundation as well as best guarantee for a sustained strategic partnership between our two nations. As such, we hope that, together, Pakistan and the US can build a robust economic partnership, which rests primarily on increased trade and market access so that we can expand economic opportunities in Pakistan and fight extremism strategically …

“I’ve been here now for more than a year-and-a-half and as I’ve traveled extensively around the west coast I have found the Pakistan-American community to be one of the most active, vibrant, hardworking and dedicated in working towards forging closer ties between our two countries. They are truly the ambassadors of Pakistan and work towards bringing the two communities together in an exemplary fashion. I salute your efforts.

“I believe, however, that the time has come for you to expand your horizons and move more into the realm of public service and public life. We have top class and excellent doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, IT experts but few lawyers, public servants, media persons, those in the entertainment industry and political figures. I feel the time has come for you to integrate deeper into mainstream American society and be active in public life which will bring about a quantum change in removing underlying misperceptions that hinder development of mutual understanding and bringing the two communities closer.

“So I would encourage young Pakistani-Americans, those who were either born here or came here as young children and grew up here to venture into new areas, walk new paths and cross boundaries to make a lasting impact on American life and become a part of the American dream. The reason why I stress this is that when the two communities here will integrate deeply and engage closely and openly, it will have a positive and long lasting impact on our bilateral relations. You are the bridge between Pakistan and the US and it is through you that an understanding will develop on the challenges and opportunities that exist in building a strong and vibrant bilateral relationship…”

Several members of the community were recognized for rendering outstanding services in their respective fields. They included: Mrs Amina Adaya, Dr Farhat Zubair, Mrs Maryam Rasheed, and Dr Shamim Ibrahim.

The food was delectable - better than the best!

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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