Houston Corner (V16-I19)

The Muslim Observer

Houston Corner (V16-I19)

Bridge from Houston to Karachi

HKSCA Needs to Work as a Bridge to Establish Business & Investment with Karachi, Pakistan: A Special Proactive Meeting with Consul General of Pakistan on the Occasion of the 5th Anniversary

Cake Cutting Ceremony on the Occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of HKSCA“Mayor Annise Parker of Houston seems to be keen to lead a high profile business and investment delegation to Karachi & other cities of Pakistan; and to make this a fruitful reality, the Houston Karachi Sister City Association and Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA needs to play the roles of bridges & do a collaborative effort.”

These were the feelings expressed by Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Afzaal Mahmood at the 5th Anniversary Meeting of Board of Directors of the Houston Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA), which is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation one individual and one community at a time.

A Special cake was cut on this occasion to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the formation of HKSCA, which was accomplished with the signing of a MoU in 2009 between the then Mayor Bill White of Houston and Nazimae Aala Mustafa Kamal of Karachi at the City Hall in Houston.

Earlier the Honorable Consul General, all the HKSCA Board Members, & Guests were welcomed by President Muhammad Saeed Sheikh. Program started with invocation; adopting of the agenda; which was followed by the welcoming remarks of HKSCA President Mr. Sheikh.

In attendance at this crucial meeting with the Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Afzaal Mahmood; held at a local Houston restaurant; included Commercial Attaché of Pakistan Fawad Shah; Ms. Tomiko Olah, Protocol Manager & Sister Cities Coordinator; Jensen Shen of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP); the visiting member of KHSCA Muzaffar Khan with his friends; and majority of the board & committee chairs of HKSCA including President Muhammad Saeed Sheikh; Vice President Mohammad Zaheer; General Secretary Omar Khawaja; Board of Directors M. J. Khan; Syed Nayyar Izfar; Cristal Montañéz Baylor; & David Godwin; and Committee Chairs of Community Services & Media Affairs ILyas Choudry; Public Relations Matloob Khan; & Publications Amir Maqsood Khan; and Volunteers Rose Ashraf, Inayat Ashraf, Zafar Khan & Abdul Rauf Khan. Community Journalist of “Houston Nama – Pakistan News” Shamim Syed was also in attendance.

After the various reports about the history, educational, trade, cultural, healthcare, and humanitarian endeavors & future plans of HKSCA were presented; Honorable Consul General Afzaal Mahmood gave some candid remarks, and suggestions, so that the work of HKSCA can be further enhanced:

“We are public servants at the Consulate. We have a limited staff of seven to eight persons. That is not our whole team. Our Consulate’s team includes all the organizations of Pakistan and all the Pakistanis in Houston & beyond, and we can work together to serve both USA & Pakistan. Consulate needs to be used a Secretariat and Clearing House by organizations’ like HKSCA, so that the task of bridge can be played effectively & efficiently by HKSCA in taking business & investment to Karachi & Pakistan. HKSCA needs to maintain a good database, and share with the Consulate, so as to work as a team. There is need to promote food & culture of Pakistan; and for this, Consulate can provide In-Kind assistance to HKSCA, who should also involve the Pakistani Student Association (PSA), as without youth, sustainability of an organization is not possible.”

Karachi is the 17th Sister City of Houston and the 100th Muslim city to enter the overall Sister City network. The Sister City Association is a voluntary organization created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as part of the Sister City International (SCI) organization. SCI’s goal is to develop municipal partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, and states with similar jurisdictions in other nations. SCI also works with ordinary citizens to participate in people-to-people exchanges and to build long-term partnerships between the U.S. and international municipalities. Currently, President Barack Obama serves as Honorary Chair of Sister Cities International, and locally, City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker is the Honorary Chair Person of HKSCA. Similarly there is a counterpart of HKSCA called the Karachi Houston Sister City Association (KHSCA) in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.

“The idea of enhancing the healthcare system in Karachi through tele-medicine between a major hospital in Karachi with a salient hospital in Houston is fantastic, and Consulate will facilitate it thorough the various ministries of Pakistan. Also Ambassador of Pakistan is expected to visit Houston in the month of June 2014. HKSCA should work towards getting the statue of Mr. Jinnah, Founding Father of Pakistan placed in Hermann Park, Houston; and assist to achieve the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Status with the US similar to recently accorded by the European Union to Pakistani trade:” Added Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Afzaal Mahmood.

For more information about HKSCA and getting involved, one can call +1.281.948.1840.


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