Unique Celebrations of 23rd March

Muslim Matters

Unique Celebrations of 23rd March

Republic Day at the Houston Consulate of Pakistan

This year the momentous day of 23rd March came on Sunday. With schools and offices close, many Houstonian Pakistanis got the chance to travel to the Pakistani Consulate on Jones Road West Houston. The very first thing everyone felt on reaching the consulate, were the newly painted parking spot lines, properly delineated, after the new Consul General (CG) of Pakistan Honorable Aquil Nadeem was complaint about this. Everyone appreciated the quick actions taken by of Hon. CG. Another thing, which delighted all, was the announcement of Hon. CG that Consulate of Pakistan will soon be moving near Galleria (read more about it later on in this report).

This March 23rd, 2008 marked the 52nd Republic Day of Pakistan. This name has been given to the public holiday in several countries to commemorate the day, when they first became republics. Some of these countries are former Commonwealth realms, in which the British monarch was head of state until the change of status. Pakistan was first declared as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on March 23rd, 1956 to coincide with the day when the Resolution of Pakistan (basis for independence of Pakistan) March 23rd, 1940 was passed in Lahore.

Hon. Aqil Nadeem and his wife, Dr. Zia Ahmed (Commercial Attaché and head of the Trade and Investment Section) and his wife, Mr. Mahbub Malik and all the staff members the Houston Consulate did extended efforts this time to make this a most memorable occasion. Excellent Brunch of Mezban Restaurant was served with desert presented in traditional mud bowls. The Consulate of Houston was brimming with enthusiastic Pakistanis, as they listened to National Songs and introduced each other. This time many new faces were seen, who usually are not seen at such events.

After the heart warming Flag Raising Ceremony outside on the lawns of the Consulate, everyone came inside to find another unique thing. Rather than first listening to regular leaders of various social, political and business organizations of Pakistanis, Dr. Zia invited one by one various Pakistanis, who have excelled in their fields and/or who have direct contributions towards Pakistan. Program started with recitation of Quran by Hafiz Tauqir Shah, who emphasized that as Muslims and Pakistanis, it is Allah SWT’s command that we should spread goodness and halt wickedness by our actions and words and shun.

Hon. Aqil Nadeem read the message of President of Pakistan. In his own presentation, he said that this years’ Republic Day coincides with the beginning of a new era of political process in Pakistan, as one assembly after finishing their five years tenure is being replaced by a new one, who has come after one of the most transparent and cleanest elections as per the reports given by foreign observers and delegations. Plus the different political parties of Pakistan are contended with the results. He said he is happy to see many Pakistani ladies in attendance on the occasion and as every clapped loudly, he congratulated everyone on the election of first female Speaker of the House in Pakistan. Hon. CG appealed to everyone that as the true ambassadors of Pakistan, everyone should inform people around them about the several blessings and good things of Pakistan, so that the obscurity about Pakistan being created in the media can be sincerely countered.

Hon. Aqil Nadeem announced that in order to keep Pakistanis closer to Pakistan, Consulate will recognize the educational achievements of high school and other level students on their excellent performance. Also Pakistanis, who have excelled in various spheres of life, will be awarded to create encouragement among the people of the community and keep the positive ties in years to come between Pakistan and the Pakistanis in Houston and their future generations. The first of such prizes will be given out on the occasion of August 14th, 2008.

Hon. Aqil Nadeem gave the good news of Ms. Hashmat Affendi of House of Charity Houston getting the Medal of Imtiaz (Satar-e-Imtiaz) from the Government of Pakistan, which was accepted by mother of caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan in Islamabad on her behalf as she was taking care of children at the House of Charity here and could not travel to Pakistan. Satar-e-Imtiaz will be soon given to her at a special program to be organized at the Consulate.

Amidst thunderous applause, Hon. Aqil Nadeem informed that within the next few months after the inspections are done by the visiting officers of the Government of Pakistan, the Consulate of Pakistan will be moved near the posh Galleria Area in a place, which will be bought by Pakistan and as such it will be of Pakistani Communities very own.

Those, who spoke on the occasion included Professor Javed Ashraf (University of St. Thomas, who is organizing Inter-faith Program on April 10th, 2008 at the University’s Jones Hall), Dr. Aziz Siddique (Former President of Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Riaz Siddique (Charter Member of Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs OPEN), Dr. Ahmad J. Durrani (Professor of Civil Engineering at Rice University, who is going to Pakistan to assist the Government in the putting together of syllabus for the Higher Education in Pakistan), Dr. Adnan Aslam (Renowned Cardiologist), Mrs. Zeba Shah (Developments in Literacy DIL, who in 11 years have established more than 160 model schools in Pakistan), Sajjad Burki (Pakistani American Council of Texas PACT), Saeed Sheikh (Pakistan Chambers of Commerce PCC) and Ghulam Bombaywala (Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston and the House of Charity).

Program ended with Vote of Thanks by Dr. Zia Ahmed for everyone present, with special mention of Media. Everyone later on enjoyed the sumptuous food of Mezban and songs presented by Nadeem Ashrafi and his associate.

For more information, please contact the Consulate General of Pakistan, 11850 Jones Road , Houston , Texas 77070 , Telephone: 281-894-6605, Fax: 281-890-1433, E-Mail: parephouston@sbcglobal.net


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