By M. Shahid Yousuf
TV Actor Shakeel auctioning an art work during the fund raising, Dr. Alamgir Khan, President of HDF MI chapter and Dr. (Mrs.) Zeenat Anwar applauding the efforts and appreciating the donors.
Lord Nazir Ahmed shaking hands with Dr. Iqbal Nasir.
Once again, the Pakistani American expatriate community of Michigan continued its charitable mission by attending the 12th Annual Fundraising banquet at the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom, Dearborn on May 22nd 2010. The gathering consisted of community leaders, business owners and largely members of various professions such as doctors and engineers as well as members of the allied medical fields. The total raised at the function was $202,000 and further commitments are likely to make this $ 225,000. This is an impressive sum considering that Michigan has been hit hard by current economic conditions with an unemployment rate of 15%, budget deficit of $ 980 million and spending cuts of $ 1 billion. In such times of economic certainty people hold on to disposable income but Pakistani expatriates delivered on their commitment to Pakistan. The keynote speaker Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham (UK) raised important concerns of the Pakistani Diaspora and the impact of geopolitical fall out from the Soviet Unionâ€™s occupation and then later expulsion from Afghanistan.
He said he was here â€œbecause of Human Development Foundation does fantastic work.â€ â€œIt gives free education and health care and empowers the poorest people in Pakistan.â€ â€œWe owe it to Pakistan, we owe it to the motherland. Of course we are Americans, of course we are British and we participate in the society and we make a big contribution in health service, in business, in politics, in social activity of United States.â€ He asked â€œBut what do we do for the country that has given us everything? This is your time!â€ â€œToday is your time to show if your really love Pakistan and if you really care for the poorest people of Pakistan. Make your contribution tonight and give your contribution to Human Development Foundation. He reminded the audience of the advice of Prophet (s) who said â€œBest amongst mankind is one who brings benefits to others.â€ â€œI urge you–tonight is … when you must make that donation.â€
Dr. Khalid Riaz followed up with recounting the statistics beginning with how someone born in the underserved areas of Pakistan had the odds stacked against him or her. Starting from the very act of being born with attendant infant and maternal mortality all lthe way to adulthood there are numerous events outside the control of the individual. As an example Dr.Riaz informed the audience that out of 1000 births , only 46 will make it to adulthood and onto college while the other 954 will not be so fortunate. Dr. Riaz reminded that Article 37-B of 1973 constitution of Pakistan provided for â€œeradication of illiteracy and provision of free and compulsory education up to secondary level within the minimum possible time.â€
HDF a IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization and was a present to the people of Pakistan on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan. At that occasion during 1997 APPNA summer meeting in Chicago the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq was the chief guest. Dr. Haq is the originator of HDI (human development index) a world wide recognized measure of well being and economic progress and in summary of quality of life of humans in various countries. HDI is used by UN and numerous researchers and in academia.