From left to right (top row): Salman Ahmed, Rep. Moody, Pervaiz Lodhie, Fiza Shah, Rep.
Berman, Ghazala Khan, Najeeb Ghauri, Shezad Rokerya, Salim Adaya, Muhammad Adaya,
(bottom row): Taha Gaya, Adnan Khan, Dr. Naqvi, Dr. Abbasi, Jamal Khawaja
VAN NUYS, CA, May 29, 2009 -
Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C) Founding Director
meeting between Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee and fourteen Pakistani American
businessmen and women, professionals and philanthropists
from Southern California who are engaged on the ground in Pakistan.
Congressman Berman who sponsored H.R. 1886 entitled "The
PEACE Act of 2009," which will triple U.S. economic
assistance to Pakistan, actively engaged the group in a productive
at his district office in Van Nys, California covering the
- The importance
of primary and secondary education, basic literacy training,
and low cost basic healthcare and preventative
medicine as part of any U.S. assistance package for Pakistan.
failure and historic inability of the US Agency for International
Development (USAID) to deliver effective
to the people of Pakistan.
- The importance
of utilizing, funding and scaling up existing Pakistani
already working effectively
- The extremely
negative impact conditioning assistance will have on
the goodwill provided by a significant
package like the PEACE Act of 2009.
- The acute
need to provide immediate sufficient assistance to the
Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Berman pledged to work closely with the PAL-C DC
office on creating
additional funding for the IDPs in the Emergency
Supplemental Bill for 2009.
The fourteen-strong group of Pakistani Americans was led
by PAL-C Founding Director Mr. Pervaiz Lodhie and including
the following prominent participants from Southern California:
1. Pervaiz Lodhie, Founder/President, LEDtronics, Inc,
2. Salim Adaya, Chairperson, I D S Real Estate Group
3. Muhammad Adaya, I D S Real Estate Group
4. Najeeb Ghauri, Chairman/CEO, Netsol Technologies
5. Dr. Sattar Abbasi, Professor Clinical Medicine, UCLA
6. Jamal Khawaja, Director,
JFK Import & Export Inc.
7. Dr. Salman Naqvi, MD, FCCP. Chief of Staff, Kindred
Hospital Westminister OC
8. Adnan Khan, President, CIDP Inc.
9. Fiza Shah, Founder/CEO, Development in Literacy
10. Ghazala Khan, Principal,
GK & Associates
11. Shezad Rokerya, Chairman, The Interlink Group
12. Salman Ahmed, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, Artist/Musician
Additionally, two participants flew in from Washington,
13. Taha Gaya, Executive Director, Pakistani American Leadership
14. Jim Moody, Chairman AFHD/NCHD, Former US Congressman
the meeting Chairman Berman acknowledged that with regards
to Pakistan, the U.S. has "made too many mistakes," and
that his bill, the PEACE Act of 2009, was "intended
to be a statement of how strengthening Pakistan is in America's
interest" and hoped that his bill would, "reflect
a long-term commitment to that goal."
the conditions on the security assistance in the PEACE
Act of 2009, Chairman Berman acknowledged that the
U.S. "can't force Pakistan to do anything," and
that he was working to ensure that any conditions were minimal
and written in the most flexible way. Specifically on the
conditions requiring Pakistan to grant the U.S. direct access
to AQ Khan, Chairman Berman noted that "there has already
been a great deal of information exchanged," and that
any new interview "is not going to produce new information
Berman agreed with the group's assessment of the inability
of USAID to effectively deliver assistance in Pakistan
noting that, "USAID has lost a lot of its original capacity" and
expressed a strong interest in receiving more information
on successful Pakistani American NGOs working in Pakistan.
and perhaps surprisingly, Chairman Berman agreed that there
has been a lopsided U.S. focus on the ISI, Pakistan's
intelligence agency, and recognized that India's intelligence
agency, the RAW, has also played and continues to play a
destabilizing role in the region. Chairman Berman particularly
singled out, "Indian intelligence involvement in Baluchistan" as
a cause for concern.
Overall, the meeting was viewed by both Chairman Berman
and the Pakistani American group as highly productive with
both sides fully engaging with each other. Both Chairman
Berman and the group agreed that this was the beginning of
a much longer dialogue and partnership between the Congressman
and the Southern California Pakistani American community
and plans are already underway for a follow-up meeting to
discuss the issues in greater detail.
PAL-C looks forward to continuing to facilitate these types
of meetings between the Pakistani American community nationwide
and our elected representatives, particularly those like
Chairman Berman that sit on Congressional Committees exercising
massive influence on the Pakistani American community and
on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.