Consul General Meets Sacramento Pakistani-American Community
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Sacramento, CA: Pakistani community leader Malik Younas Awan hosted a dinner at the Kabab Corner Restaurant in West Sacramento where Consul General Mr Abdul Jabbar Memon from the Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles was the honored guest.
Credit needs to go to our host for gathering together almost all the various groups including the Pakistani American Association and supporters of different political parties in Pakistan like the PPP, PTI and the PML(N) on one platform here, and not to forget some Indian friends who were made to feel welcome too. Malik Sahib is well-known in the area for being the main force behind the formation of the first “Pakistan House” in Sacramento, which has hosted dignitaries from the home country in the past.
This gathering held on September 29, 2017 turned out to be a unique evening during which the conversation flowed easily and some great food was shared.
After a short introduction by the event emcee a recitation from the Holy Qur’an was performed by Imam Aamir Hussain. Next, Malik Younas Awan welcomed everyone, especially those that came here from a long distance, namely, the Bay Area, Lodi, Yuba City, Butte County, etc. amongst them. Quite a number of speakers followed him including Shahid Saleemi, Mr Sultan, Senior PPP leader Malik Kaiyoom Awan, Khalid Saeed from Stockton and Beela Shaikh who made an appeal for support of an upcoming Cancer Care Hospital & Research Foundation (Lahore) fundraiser to be held in the Sacramento area on October 20th featuring Humaira Channa. But before one proceeds to the Consul General’s speech here, it is worth mentioning that it was a pleasure to hear the thoughts of two Indians who shared with us their joy of visiting Pakistan for the first time (both had a pre-partition family connection to the Punjab area which is now in Pakistan). One can hope that more of such visits and “people-to-people contact” will take place to make the future of South Asia appear brighter.
Consul General Abdul Jabbar Memon, the Chief Guest, spoke last. He thanked everyone and added a touch of humor from the very start by stating that he was making everyone wait for dinner! He said that the preferred path to take, one that he has chosen, was that of helping others, the example of which our Prophet (SWW) has left for us to follow. He added that the services of the Consulate for the community would continue smoothly and to their satisfaction as much as possible. He said that the facility in Los Angeles provides four main services:visa, passport, NICOP and attestation of documents and that that the first three now do not require travel to the Consulate. Only the attestation of documents and power of attorney requires the person to be physically present. The work of passport applications and NICOP can pretty much be done online through websites. Visa applications can be mailed in, and are processed when received. So the only requirement for someone to travel to the Consulate is for documents which have the legal necessity of physical presence.
Consul General Memon also mentioned that Pakistan has perception issues and that the two travelers (from India) who spoke earlier negated the false perception. He also took the opportunity to address some of the issues that the media brings up in the realm of the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the United States. He said that one should not dwell on the negatives and take a defeatist approach. He added that there were some misunderstandings but reminded everyone that from the time of its birth in 1947, Pakistan sacrificed its geographical neighborhood (Soviet Union) and chose American friendship. He added that in the 1950’s Pakistan further aligned itself with America (CENTO and SEATO pacts) and joined in the opposition to Communism. In the early 1970’s Pakistan acted as a bridge between the United States and China and in 1979 joined the anti-Communist forces to eject the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. And last but not least, after 9/11/2001 Pakistan made the decision to join the fight against terrorism for which it has itself paid a heavy price in the last 16 years. He echoed the recent comments of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff that Pakistan has done enough in the war on terror and that it is now time for the world to do more. Memon concluded with the thought that our community needs to keep its head up high and should look forward to a bright future for Pakistan, God Willing.
(Reporter’s Note: The Consul General’s speech was delivered in the Urdu language for which an exact translation into English is not always possible)