Rise For Pakistan Group Meets & Impresses Community Members in Los Angeles
Rise for Pakistan and IYWM held a community awareness event in Los Angeles on August 10, 2014.
The program began with Sameer Moosani welcoming the guests. He introduced the Pakistan Consul General, Mr Tasawar Khan, and requested him to address the gathering.
The Consul General at the outset appreciated the efforts of the team that had organized the Independence Day mela the day before. Then he talked about Jawad Ahma, describing him as an asset to Pakistan: besides being a renowned artist and singer, Jawad has served the country in several capacities. He is an ambassador for polio eradication, has an organization for educating children, and has extended a helping hand during national disasters like earthquake and floods.
Moosani next introduced Dr Shahnaz Khan, founding member and chairperson of Rise For Pakistan USA and member central committee IYWM. She has been also active in other capacities to serve Pakistan. She is a founding member and past chairperson of the Human Development Foundation, founding member of Pakistani Association of Tampa Bay, Florida Chapter of APPNA, and has been on the board of PAKPAC and some other organizations.
Dr Shahnaz Khan spoke about the multitude of problems facing Pakistan whose root cause was the same: inequality of income and wealth. Unless this disparity is overcome, not much will change. And the only way to bring about the change is to launch a grassroots movement and that is what Jawad Ahmad is striving to do through the International Youth and Workers Movement in Pakistan. All major changes in the USA were possible only through grassroots movements. She said that unless people think differently, nothing could change. She then introduced Jawad Ahmad and spotlighted his political activism and strong belief in the equality of all human beings.
In his address Jawad spoke about the social disparity and prevailing conditions in Pakistan, especially focusing on the plight of workers. He said that trade unions are a platform for workers to get organized and demand their rights but unfortunately in Pakistan peasants who make up almost 46% of the working class do not even have the right to form a union. Even though there is an official minimum wage of Rs. 12,000 but hardly anyone gets that amount. People work for anywhere between Rs. 3000 to 8,000 per month. Who can live by earning that paltry amount of money? So, we want to strengthen trade unionism in Pakistan to empower the workers. He said that IYWM is working with youth, especially students, workers and peasants because these are the four sections of society which can bring a wholesome change.
After the speeches dinner was served and an informal discussion with the guests followed. Some of them promised to help in setting up a Rise For Pakistan core group in the LA area.