Consul General and Los Angeles Consulate Team Visit Sacramento
A Pakistan Link Report

The Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles California has a wide service area to cover not just in the western United States but also within California itself.

It is a good 400 mile drive from the California Capital city of Sacramento to Los Angeles for the Pakistani community here, possibly the oldest group of Pakistanis which has settled in America starting around approximately 50 years before British India’s Partition. So when the Consulate comes to Sacramento and holds a “Visa Camp”, quite a large number of locals try to take advantage of the opportunity to get visas, NICOP cards and other passport services.

The visa camp held on Saturday, May 19th was certainly a busy event. “The purpose of establishing Consular Camp in various states/cities is to provide consular services to the Pakistani community at their doorsteps,” stated the distributed flyer.

The venue was a local and very popular Pakistani-American owned business which does a good hosting of this event every year. So thanks are in order to Bashir Sahib for hosting and keeping this event going at this location for the benefit of all concerned.

In spite of bureaucratic hurdles and strange rules from the old country, the consular officials and local volunteers work really hard to answer questions and to make sure that the paperwork for passports, visas and ID Cards is submitted to facilitate a successful outcome. One cannot blame them for not being able to fulfill the more difficult requests since many in the Pakistani community have lived here for decades and have lost or misplaced their documents, or possess those that have long expired. But in spite of such difficulties the Consular staff was courteous and the atmosphere at the “Visa Camp” quite pleasant. The officials present fulfilled their duties quite efficiently.

On Monday, May 21st Consul General Riffat Masood who was in town promoting “Trade Not Aid” was the honored guest at the Kabab Corner Restaurant in West Sacramento.

Close to 80 people, many from amongst the region’s Pakistani-American community leadership, shared a fine dinner and discussed a number of issues including minority rights in Pakistan, changing invisible Pakistanis into visible ones in professions such as the media in the US, promoting trade between the two countries and enhancing the business relationship.

The consensus was that the entire community needs to play a more active role in creating better understanding between the United States and Pakistan.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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