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Pakistan Center for Philanthropy


Rep. Berman Chats with Pakistani-Americans
on Various Issues

Pakistan Link | October 22, 2010

By Shaan Lodhie

Congressman Berman is interviewed by PAL-C director
PAL-C Director Shoaib Kothawala (right) questions Rep. Howard Berman (left) on US-Pakistan relations

On Sunday, Oct. 10, Congressman Howard Berman attended a meeting in Bradbury with some of Southern California’s Pakistani-American professional community leaders to discuss long-term U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Rep. Berman, 69, represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Congressman started out by stating that his goal and the goal of the U.S. is to develop relations with Pakistan that are less transactional and more deep-rooted. He explained that being transactional involves using the nation when needed, and then forgetting them otherwise. Rep. Berman said he believes that that isn’t the way to a healthy relationship.

The group then went on to discuss America’s military presence in the Middle East, along with other issues in the area. They spoke about the U.S. entering Iraq without an exit strategy, the unstable state of Afghanistan, the history of corrupt government in Pakistan, and the country’s need to make peace with India.

Rep. Berman said that he wants to strengthen and empower the civilians of Pakistan so that they themselves can better the nation with the help of their government, rather than the U.S. doing everything for them. He said that the process will be very slow, but nonetheless effective in the long run.

Towards the end of the meeting, the group summed up their view that military presence and aid being sent through questionably credible non-government organizations (NGOs) will not save Pakistan—education and trade will.

Pakistani-Americans Mr. and Mrs. Asif Mahmood held and hosted the meeting at their home. It lasted about two hours, and afterwards they continued their dialogue over lunch.

Some others in attendance were Pervaiz Lodhie, Shoaib Kothawala, Najeeb Ghauri, Dr. Khalid Ahmed, Qaiser Maddad, Janice Berman (the Congressman’s wife), and Gene Smith and Esther Azal from Rep. Berman’s staff.



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