Houstonian Corner (V13-I52)

Pakistani-American Community Peace Rally in Downtown Houston

Office bearers and members of four Pakistani-American organizations did a Peace Rally in downtown Houston in front of the George Thomas “Mickey” Leland Federal Building this past Friday. This rally was called by Pakistani American Council of Texas (PACT), Pakistani American Society of Texas (PAST), Pakistani-American Association of Greater Houston (PAGH), and Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA).

“As everyone knows,, the NATO attacks of November 26th, 2011 on the Pakistani soil, resulting in senseless loss of 24 brave Pakistani soldiers, is not only a tragedy for the families of the dead soldiers, but a violation of sovereignty of an independent country Pakistan; and a harsh setback to the close friendly relationships between the United States and Pakistan. Several days have passed since November 26th, and no appropriate steps and measures have been taken by NATO / USA, to restore this relationship of USA with Pakistan. It is in the national interest of USA that this relationship between USA & Pakistan must be salvaged, so that peace and stability may come to the strategic region of South Asia, which is tied with the tranquility & prosperity of our world. For this purpose, this “Peace Rally” has been called by the Pakistani-American Community in Houston, where we have invited members of the community and all other communities & people of conscience, to come out for the sake of peace in the world”, said one of the press statement of the Peace Rally.

A resolution was passed; read on the occasion by Sajjad Burki (PACT) & Taslim Siddiqui (PAGH); and then given to the representatives of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, so that they can take this message of the Pakistani-American Community to the Congress.

Sajjad Burki (PACT), Taslim Siddiqui (PAGH), Saeed Gaddi (PAST), Pervez Khan Swati (PCC-USA), and Khalid Khan (People’s Party) lead the rally in saying the various slogans. Each participant was holding message cards and banners with appropriate messages; like

“Strong US-Pakistan Friendship is in the National Interest of USA”;
“We Strongly Condemn the Senseless Killing of Pakistani Soldiers By NATO Forces – Peace Rally Organized by the Pakistani-American Community”;
“Let’s Be Friends – Not Masters”;
“Pakistan Needs Friends – Not Masters”;
“World Needs Peace – No Wars”;
“No Wars Mean The Prosperity of USA”;
“Senseless Killings of Friends – Not in Our Interest”;
“Pakistan: The Best Ally of USA”;
“Cost of War against Terrorism – Pakistan Has Lost 36,000+ Lives, including 3,000+ Soldiers”;
“Cost of War against Terrorism:
Pakistan Has Lost $80-Billion+”
“Brown University August 2011: US will have spent a total $3.7 trillion on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan, costing 225,000 lives & creating 7.8 million refugees, by the time the conflicts end…”;
“Drones are Killing Many Innocent”;
“Lets’ make Friends & Not Foes – Stop the Mindless Killings”;
“President Obama: Lets’ Be Champions of Peace – Yes: We Can !!!”;
“Pakistan: The True Friend of USA – Treat Her Like One…”;
“Another American for Peace – Another Patriot for Peace”;
“Have the Right to Remain Silent – But Not on Senseless Killings”;
“Make Soup & Tea – Not War”;
“War Is Expensive – Peace Is Priceless”.

Resolution Presented at Peace Rally:

Strong Condemnation of the Senseless Killing of Pakistani Soldiers by NATO Forces

We, the people, gathered here this day, Friday, December 16th, 2011, in front of the Federal Building at 1919 Smith Street in downtown Houston, do hereby RESOLVE,

* That November 26th, 2011, was one of the darkest days in the war on terror, when NATO forces attacked the soil of Pakistan, resulting in a senseless loss of 24 brave Pakistani soldiers;
* That this is an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan; a harsh setback to the relationship between these two important allies; and a tragedy for the families of these soldiers;
* That the United States and NATO must offer an immediate and explicit apology to Pakistan for the loss of life and injuries that have been inflicted;
* That the United States and NATO must demonstrate that they are taking concrete and transparent steps to ensure, such an incident will never occur again;
* That appropriate reparations must be made to the families of the dead and wounded;

The events of November 26th, 2011, in a matter of moments, obliterated months of careful and promising work towards improving U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Yet, we the Citizens of USA, are confident that if swift actions (as resolved and mentioned above) are taken, we can indeed rebuild a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.

Tasleem Siddiqui, President, Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston
Sajjad Burki, President, Pakistani American Council of Texas
Saeed Bashir Gaddi, President, Pakistani American Society of Texas
P. J. Khan Swati, President, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, USA

This resolution hand delivered in Houston on Fri, Dec 16th, 2011to State Department and Congressional Office of Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee; and copies be mailed to Congresspersons of Texas & some other States – Contact for this Resolution: Sajjad Burki 281-236-9492 / Tasleem Siddiqui 281-236-7597 / Saeed Bashir Gaddi 832-277-6699 / P. J. Khan Swati 832-754-1464.