Monday, February 3, 2014
PSNT should be Disbanded
January 24, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
My considered opinion is that PSNT (Pakistan Society of North Texas), a patently white elephant representative body of the Pakistanis residing in DFW should be disbanded. I have no grudge against the stalwarts or officer holders of this merely showoff organization of expatriate Pakistanis in the metropolitan region of Dallas and Forthwith.
They are good looking glamorous individuals dressed in fine and custom made sartorial elegance and enjoying lot of clout and goodwill among the Pakistani and even in Indians community. I am purely talking about the efficacy and usefulness of this good- for- nothing outfit that somehow looks like pain in the neck or a kind of redundant body that if dissolved would not bring any harm to the Pakistanis as it is not dispensing any good either.
The best or the distinctive role that the PSNT has been focused on is to hold two functions once a year. One is Pakistan’s Independence Day on 14 August. The other is Pakistan Day on March 23 in commemoration of the passing of the Pakistan Resolution in 1940 at Lahore.
These are very laudable programs but what else? A representative society as the PSNT is ought to address the social, economic, legal, and medical and a host of other problems of its ethnic groups or the people hailing from the same country of origin.
Let me mention an incident exposing deliberate apathy on the part of the incumbent PSNT bosses towards a distressing humanitarian cause. Last year a poor lonely Pakistani Junaid Khan died of a heart attack. While the dead body of Junaid was kept in Rahma funeral home, a fellow Pakistani Ali Rizvi appealed to the Pakistani community to donate for sending his dead body to Pakistan. Only three good hearted philanthropists offered to bear the expenses for that cause. The funds apart, the bigwigs of the PSNT did not even bother to issue a statement of condolence.
In contrast, the same year in the month of March, PSNT celebrated the Pakistan Day in a posh hotel with lot of fanfare and gusto. That evening must have cost the PSNT a good amount of money and this money must have been collected from the members or shared by the PSNT executive body.
The point to ponder is that while a grand gala function fits into the priorities of the PSNT, a humanitarian appeal, first of its kind, was ignored under the pretext of regulations. It is a public knowledge that the PSNT has a sizeable amount deposited in its account.
Now the mandate of such a prestigious entity ought to bring the people together, cultivate their former countrymen or those with dual nationality on a variety of issues ranging from integration to education. It should hold cultural meets, variety shows depicting Pakistan dresses and other cultural manifestations.
It can also encourage or patronize cultural fairs, poetic sessions and celebrate American special days.
It should foster goodwill among the low and high, advantaged and disadvantaged, educated and uneducated. It can generate sense of togetherness and loyalty to both our new and old country of origin. It has to visit the afflicted people in their homes and meet the families involved in domestic disputes, help those with health problems and create pro bono cadres of Pakistan or South Indian attorneys for legal assistance. The office bearers should call upon the people hospitalized due to serious sickness.
When Mr. Irfan Toor was the president of PSNT, he initiated a useful program of informing the Pakistani community through a special supplement or magazine that would detail ongoing programs of PSNT. This bulletin would be published prior to special days of Pakistan like Pakistan Day and the Independence Day.
Even otherwise there would be lot of activities and Mr Toor would take personal interest in promoting goodwill and keeping in touch with the Pakistani community. Those days are gone and these are now merely glamour, feast and music that are observed and that too at a huge cost and in the company of select gathering that can pay for costly tickets.
We have observed that special interest groups within the Pakistan community try to take over the PSNT reins for perhaps business or personal interests and to be effective to talk to the local authorities for benefits and perks and advantages. In the past there used to be one dominant group that was like a king maker and any executive body or president could not be appointed without its approval.
During Mr Toor’s tenure perhaps for the first time fair elections were held. Thereafter and before him, it was only change of hands and mere transfer of PSNT from one powerful and elite group to another.
We have also observed that shady tactics and devious bottlenecks are deliberately created in the way of holding genuine elections. The lists of the voters are tempered with on one excuse or another. There must be thousands of Pakistani origin Americans in DFW but only a minuscule are members of this otherwise prestigious body.
Why the Pakistanis are not motivated to take membership and thus making this organization more powerful to safeguard the interests of the American Pakistanis? Such a meaningful and far reaching effort has never been made and a kind of stale and outdated list is being maintained for the elections. We all know how the last elections of PSNT were manipulated and through trickery a special group was inducted into PSNT.
So when the PSNT is not delivering what it ought to deliver then better it is disbanded. More productive are the services of individual philanthropists and social activist like Dr Basheer Ahmed, Mike Ghouse, Farooq Khan, Azad Khan, John Hamid, Irfan Ali, Ghulam Jhangra, Khaliq Qureshi Sahib, and many others whose record of service to the Pakistani community is much brighter and profoundly selfless than the PSNT.
The Pakistan community doesn’t need a showy organization to represent them. They need sincere and dedicated spokespersons and custodians who work hard and sincerely for the community.