Glimpses of the meeting organized by
FOSAAC in Artesia
As war clouds hover perilously close to the South Asian subcontinent
and an Indo-Pak clash appears imminent, a large group of Pakistani-
and Indian-Americans met in Artesia on Saturday to lay the 'seeds'
of friendship between the two communities in North America. The
groups spiritedly pledged to extend their well-meaning initiative to
the American Congress and Capital Hill to usher lasting peace in
South Asia. Many members of the other South Asian countries were
also present on the occasion.
Held in the spacious Woodland
Restaurant, the meeting saw the fruition of efforts of two
prominent South Asian Americans - Kevin Kaul from the Indian and
Pervaiz Lodhie from the Pakistani communities - to bring fellow
members on one platform to foster friendship and understanding.
A resolution unanimously passed at
the meeting stated: "We, the people of South Asian origin hereby
express our resolve to work for peace and amity between the nations
of India and Pakistan and also for brotherhood and friendship
between the Asian communities living in the United States of
America. We appeal to the governments of India and Pakistan to
continue their efforts for lasting peace between the two countries
and to join hands in curbing and eradicating terrorism and
terrorists from the Sub-continent.
“We are profoundly grieved by the
tragic happenings in Mumbai, India, Pakistan and all the neighboring
countries. Our sympathies are with the victims of the tragedy.
“We appeal to the two governments of
India and Pakistan to work closely together to bring the culprits to
justice and to wipe out the terrorist elements from both the
“The economy of India and Pakistan
can improve only if there is peace and friendship between the two
countries. We make this appeal as our sympathies are with the
innocent people of both countries and we deem it our duty to utilize
all our resources to alleviate poverty and uplift the conditions of
the people of South Asia.”
Speakers at the meeting included
Chopin Chopra, Pervaiz Lodhie, Kevin Kaul, Arif Mansuri, Anila Ali,
Ramesh Mahajun, Dr Razaq Chaudhry, Yogesh Mehta, Jalil Khan, Prof.
Keshavial Patel, Shaista Khan, Ravi Shankar, Roshanta D’ Silva,
Tanvir Khan and Dr. Deepak Singh.
They gave a rare demonstration of
mutual respect and understanding and a fine example in this regard
was set by the emcees, Chopin Chopra and Pervaiz Lodhie.
No insinuations were cast and no accusatory fingers raised. Instead,
many well-meaning comments and observations were heard.
A group picture of Pakistani- and
Indian-Americans who met in Artesia on Saturday
Mr Pervaiz Lodhie made
scintillating remarks. A few excerpts: “I am here to talk about
solutions to start winning the war against terror. In the new world
order, strength and power of countries will not be defined by
military power or by how many bombs or missiles or nuclear warheads
“They will be defined by the short-
and long-term economic health of a country, and by how many of its
citizens go to sleep hungry.
“We here in California are
privileged to live in the most pioneering and innovative state.
“All recent technology-driven
revolutions affecting the economic health of America and the world
started here and continue today.
“Guess where most of the hard
working intelligent, innovative and pioneering brains and bodies
come from? SOUTH ASIA.
“The new economic growth cycle will
start from SOUTH ASIA.
“SOUTH ASIA is home to 1/3rd to 1/2
of the world’s population. SOUTH ASIA will also produce 100’s of
millions of new consumers as they move from below the poverty line
to above the poverty line.
“This economic cycle from SOUTH ASIA
will affect the economy, wealth and jobs of the rest of the World.
“This new economic cycle cannot
start unless all the SOUTH ASIAN countries work together in harmony
and attack common problems like terrorism, education and health with
collective intelligence and information sharing…”
Mr Kevin Kaul said the US unites
people. He lamented the political culture in South Asia. “The
politicians live in Switzerland while the people die.” He informed
the gathering that the five million South Asians in the US “make a
difference” and can make their voice heard.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Arif
Mansuri, Managing Editor, Pakistan Link, paid glowing tributes to
the FOSAAC Chairman Kevin Kaul and PAL-C National Director, Mr.
“I condemn terrorism, anywhere in
the world, in the strongest possible words. My sincerest condolences
to the victims and the families of the victims of the recent
terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
“We are all humans. Terrorism wreaks
havoc on the very fiber of our civilization. We as a human race must
face this challenge with unity, dignity and resolve. We have no
choice – we must win the war on terrorism. Let us join hands and
send the message loud and clear – we will not tolerate terrorism.
“Indians are more like Pakistanis,
and vice versa, than any other nation in the world. More so today
than ever before, we must extend the hand of wholehearted and
enduring friendship towards one another.”
“It’s time for a change. It’s time
for a new beginning. We have to look to the future. Our children’s
future is at stake...”
Held under the aegis of Friends of
South Asian American Communities (FOSAAC), the speakers and
participants in the meeting furnished ample proof of their love and
good wishes for South Asia. It was conduct becoming at its best.