Editor: Rana Qaisar   
Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

‘Focus Pakistan Conference’ in Texas: 

28 Julie 2011 12:49:37

‘Focus Pakistan Conference’ in Texas:

Stop drone attacks, release funds, pull out of Afghanistan: Speakers demand of US

‘Focus Pakistan Conference’ was held in Irving Texas to celebrate the 64th Independence Day of Pakistan. Pakistan Council of Dallas-Fort Worth organized the Conference and speakers had flown from far and wide.

The first session was moderated by Uzma Asim Khan.  Shahnaz Bokhari, a Sitara-e-Imtiaz and the founder of Progressive Women’s Association, who is an internationally awarded women rights activist, from Pakistan. Her presentation highlighted the struggle against honor killings, domestic violence and discriminatory laws along with graphic pictures of abused and victims of acid attacks on women. She stressed on a dire need for new legislation to eradicate violence on women, PWA struggle was an eye-opener for the conference attendees.    Kelli Obazee, Executive Director of Dallas Peace Center shared the American experience on women rights issue.

The second session was on Current Affairs. Senior journalist from Pakistan Saeed Qureshi based in Dallas, moderated this session. Aftab Siddiqui analyzed the historical relationship between USA and Pakistan. He emphasized that both countries helped each other over decades. He mentioned the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the past and present due to Afghan wars. He was of the view that no matter what American policy, it needed assistance from Pakistan to carry out its Afghan policy.

Washington-based Bureau Chief of Dawn, Anwar Iqbal discussed the issue of Legislative Bills in Congress to limit aid to Pakistan. He was of the view that current situation looks bad for US Pakistan relationship. He said according to the Pakistanis Current US policies are a source of instability in Pakistan and threaten democracy and economy of Pakistan. Mahera Rehman, Executive Director Council of Pakistan Relations (CPR) – a lobbying and Pakistan advocacy group based in Washington that works for improvement in relations between US and Pakistan informed the audience to play their part in influencing the actions in Congress by lobbying with its members. She explained the work of CPR in Washington DC and Capitol Hill. Her organization has been following closely the audit reports on civilian aid to Pakistan. CPR is trying to push for tangible investment e.g. hydro-electric plants, which can be helpful to counter the anti American opinion in the country.

Key note speaker Mudassir Tipu of Pakistan Embassy (Political Affairs) applauded the organizers of the conference for taking an initiative to highlight such critical issues Pakistan is facing today.  He explained the position of Pakistani Government on various issues including Afghan war, and stressed the need for better relations between the two countries. He emphasized the need of Pak-American to be involved in the political process for building bridges with Congress and Pakistani American community.

An international organization ‘Reprieve’ based in UK was represented by a US citizen who talked to the audience on Skype from UK. She explained the actions of her organization on filing of cases against CIA Counsel for unlawful killings of innocent civilians by drone attacks in Pakistan.

Tariq Jaffery presented the resolutions;                                                                               US should immediately stop all drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

US urgently increase disbursement rate of already allocated funds for social sectors in Pakistan.


US Administration should do its best to support the civil leadership and institutions in Pakistan.


US should end its war in Afghanistan and pull out, should replace them with civilians to develop the infrastructure of the country.

Awards were also presented to community members on their outstanding performance. The journalist of the year was awarded to Zahid Khanzada (Geo, News, and Jang journalist), entrepreneur of the year award was given to John Hamid, Muslim Community Center for Human Services was awarded for their community services (accepted by Kalim Saiyed and Michelle Ansari), Dr. Amer Suleman was awarded for promotion of Urdu, Vandergriff Honda (Haji Khalil received the award)for best community support and radio program ‘Rang e Adab’ was awarded for best radio program and Owais Naseer received the award. President of PCDFW, Akrama Khan, Director and Convener Syed Fayyaz Hassan also spoke on the occasion and thanked the audience and speakers.


Later in the evening the entrepreneur of the year Mr.John Hamid invited all the speakers and poets for a sumptuous dinner at his house. Honored guests included Ameer Rupani,Noor Amrohvi, Dr Amer Suleman, Mudassir Tipu (Pakistan Embassy), Shahnaz Bukhari (PWA), Anwar Iqbal (Dawn),Rashid Dara , Syed Fayyaz Hassan(PCDFW), Aftab  Siddiqui (PCDFW), Akrama Khan (PCDFW) Saeed Qureshi (PCDFW),Iqbal Haider and Zahid Khanzada.