Sunday, March 24, 2013

PSNT Celebrates Pakistan Day (March 23)

By Saeed Qureshi
The newly installed cabinet of PSNT (Pakistan Society of North Texas) celebrated the historic Pakistan Day (Passing of Lahore or Pakistan resolution in 1940, demanding Pakistan) with abundance of pageantry and traditional fervor. And it ought to be so with such a momentous day.

On March 23, 1940, the blissful concept and magnificent vision of an independent state of Pakistan was conceived and resoundingly conveyed to the Muslims of the Subcontinent as well as the world at large.

The food was excellent, diverse and plentiful. The Marriott hotel’s spacious ballroom was tastefully decorated. The tables were nicely and orderly laid out and were easily accessible for the guests to reach and take their seats.

All benchmarks, necessary modalities and decorum for such a glorious function were adequately observed. It was a fully sold-out event and the chandelier studded hall was filled to its capacity. That achievement testifies to the hard work and profound salesmanship skills of the organizers.

Yet quite a few features were either not taken seriously or left half way. Some of the arrangements fell short of the yardsticks that are expected on such solemn occasions. For instance the quality of speeches delivered by the young speakers was sketchy and left much to be desired.

I wish besides these juvenile speakers, if some veteran of the independence movement could have been invited to speak and take us back to those momentous and epoch making era when Pakistan was in the making.

We could have recapitulated and recaptured the dazzling images of the boundless zeal and passion of the freedom fighters that were the hallmarks of the independence movement for Pakistan.

The only name of such a distinguished person that comes to my mind is that of adorable jinab Khaliq Qureshi Sahib. Khaliq Sahib has the singular honor of witnessing the unfolding of the most glowing and glorified spectacle of an upcoming independent state for the Muslim nation in the Indian subcontinent.

Mr. Qureshi has the distinctive honor of meeting with the sister of the founder of Pakistan Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah. As a member of the Pakistan Muslim National Guards, he was assigned, besides others, to protect Quaid-e-Azam when he came to Sialkot in 1946 to address a public meeting.

There could be many among the audience to bear me out if I point out the serious flaw in the sound system. Either it was too blurry or too high as to become a kind of disconnect between the listeners and the singers. The sound was rather jarring that soothing and that is what I personally felt. But more than that there was a kind of echo in the hall which couldn’t be subdued.

The first lyricist took the stage and was there until midnight without conceding the arena to the Arshad Mehmood, a celebrated singer from Sindh province. I wish I could have time to listen to Arshad Mehmood in that august assemblage.

I have had the pleasure of listening to his marvelous and captivating performance in private parties held in his honor in DFW metroplex from time to time. Besides being an accomplished lyricist with emphasis on mystic and folklore genres, he is a refined and warm-hearted person.

I had gathered an overall impression as if the PSNT has, of late, been saddled by sincere, dedicated, yet novice and mediocre leadership. The panel of five robust persons that stood in unison on the stage to introduce themselves to the guests did not utter a word, not to speak of pronouncing their names.

I would have much desired that the secretary general of this most important representative body of the American Pakistanis, Mr. Nadeem Zaman, to speak and to spell out the aims and vision of the new executive body of PSNT. We appreciate his emails keeping us abreast of the PTI activities, but the PSNT too needs his attention.

But while I was watching with intent eyes that he would shake hands at least with the media representatives, he shirked even from having an eye to eye contact with them. I would have rather liked him to come to every guest individually and welcome and greet them with a wide and generous smile spread on his face. But I felt as if he was in a trance to be all by himself, to the utter exclusion of others around him.

He knows that much to the chagrin and displeasure of our colleagues in media and his antagonists, I and Shah Alam Sahib stood by him and tried to bail him out from the mud of disgrace and defamation he was being thrown in.

Last evening there was an opportune moment for him to display his courtesy and a vivid spirit of hospitality towards his well-wishers in the press. He looked indignant and posed rather a stranger as if we were meeting each other for the first time. I pardon the other office bearers, because I have never had the pleasure of knowing the other guys elected in the governing body of the PSNT.

And that reminds me a very important issue mentioned by the PSNT president sister Anjum Anwar in her keynote address. It is about banker Yunus Khan and a hefty amount of over 200,000 dollars. She shared with the audience, her dream of building the Pakistan House from that money now safely deposited in the so-called Trusty Fund.

I would doubt if ever, even the foundation stone for such a coveted project can be laid, much less its completion from the money that belongs to one individual. This is the hard earned money of Yunus Khan and must be returned to him in good grace.

This money has been controversial for many years and became a bone of contention between the two rival groups. The matter was finally adjudicated by the court and ever since it is resting in the lockers with a tag of trusty fund.

If, there ever, could be a Pakistan House, let it be built from the contributions of the common American Pakistanis with the iron clad guarantees that the funds so raised would not be wasted on closed door partying extravaganzas and frivolous merry making.

Why a person alone should be forced to set aside a big chunk of money that is neither useful for him nor for the PSNT. It cannot be spent on the welfare of the community for any length of time.

I and my wife had to beat a hasty retreat as we had no reserved seats to sit on. Although when sister Anjum invited us to share the joys of this unique celebration, she promised to allocate our seats at the media table.

But as the confusion would take the better part of order, the media seats were taken over by non-media persons who despite immense cajoling and exhaustive persuasion refused to relinquish their occupation.

As such, like the disoriented individuals, we were roving from one seat to another, as every seat had its owner. Finally the vice president of APML (All Pakistan Muslim League) Shah Rukh Siddiqui perceived our predicament and graciously accommodated us on his table.

Doesn’t this indifference on the part of the management leave a bitter taste in the mouth? But it is factually half bitter taste as we were not alone in this predicament. My colleagues in media, Awais, Shah Alam and even Sajjad were as helplessly Diaspora as our couple was.
Long Live Pakistan.  

1 comment:

  1. It is a good idea to build Pakistan House. If I was there I would have supported the idea. Somehow my name is dropped from the members’ list as I received no invitation. My friends know that I had done research on that day and interviewed people who were there in Lahore on that very day. Well next year.