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Human Development Foundation Community Awareness Dinner in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui

The Human Development Foundation (HDF) chapter in Silicon Valley held a very large annual fundraising effort on Saturday, April 16, 2016 with over 600 people reported to be in attendance. But the very next day, on April 17 th another HDF event was held in Sacramento, on the coattails of the one in Santa Clara to the delight of the Pakistani and Indian community at The Palace in Rancho Cordova on the outskirts of California’s Capital City.

Few could pass up an opportunity to gather together for a great cause here and a chance to see the legendary Anwar Maqsood live. And in spite of the hurried planning for this event, few were disappointed, least of all Maqsood Sahib himself, as he may not have been aware of the loyal fan following that he has even in inland California!

So right of the bat (balla) some words of thanks are in order for Moazzam Chaudry, Aifra Ahmed and Shahid Khan from the HDF Silicon Valley Chapter for making the trip here and spearheading the Sacramento effort with the help of a list of locals including Bilal Adenwala, Dr Altaf Jan, Dr Janmohamed , Zareena Anwar, Javed Iqbal, Aqeel Mustafa, Javaid Iqbal and Shahid Saleemi, Sara Jawad, Noman Hassan (this list unfortunately is not complete).  Many more people need to be thanked for making this effort a success because their quick social media and word of mouth campaign made up for the lack of planning time.

The evening began with a dinner of fine Afghani cuisine. Aifra Ahmed was event emcee as the formalities commenced with a recitation from the Holy Qur'an by Azeem Khan followed by a fine presentation of the Pakistani National Anthem by the youngest Chaudry present who also happens to be an HDF volunteer. He was followed by Dr Atiya Khan who went into the details of the fine work that the HDF has been doing taking a holistic approach while tackling the many problems that poor people face in Pakistan today. The statistics she presented were motivation enough for people to help out.  Aifra Ahmed, Moazzam Chaudry and Shahid Khan also took the opportunity to highlight both the need for improvement that is very visible in Pakistan and what the HDF is doing on the ground to help. A short fundraiser was held to encourage the community to assist. 

And then it was Anwar Maqsood whose “Keynote” was really a selection of keys (Chabis) as he took the audience on a satirical journey through just some of his own experiences in Pakistan.  He made General Zia his focus or “Mohabbat ka nishana” and reflected on the dilemma faced by a liberal Pakistani during the General’s many years of rule. Very few people escaped the wrath of that dictatorship while being creatively critical of it and Anwar Maqsood was one of them. He also spoke on India-Pakistan relations and his presence during a visit by the late Rajiv Gandhi to Pakistan when Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister and the missed opportunities of a lasting peace between the two countries. 

Maqsood Sahib had the audience laughing in no time and in the palm of his hand through his satirical humor. He thanked General Musharraf for making it mandatory for all elected members of Pakistan’s parliament to be educated and have at least a Bachelor’s Degree to hold office.  And so it became possible for many of those elected to acquire these degrees in a surprising few days or months when it takes the rest of us several years of hard work to acquire! He also shared his thoughts on his many years associated with the late Moin Akhtar and said that he was perhaps the best performer that we had ever produced.

The evening ended with a fine musical performance by Rohit Saini and his music partners including members of the audience - a real trip down memory lane for many of us attending!

The HDF team would like to acknowledge Imran Jaffer of Total Wealth Solutions for his support of this event

For more information on some of the work that HDF is doing please visit:  



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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