PAKPAC Brings Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to Interfaith Vigil Service for New Zealand Tragedy

(Picture above and to the left) Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and PAKPAC Board Member Umar Farooq, who invited the representative, at the Interfaith Vigil Service for the New Zealand tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Center of Willow Grove Pennsylvania.

Following the horrifying attack at Christchurch PAKPAC has been using its congressional influence to ensure that our supported candidates are taking meaningful steps towards protecting the civil liberties of our community.

PAKPAC Meets with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN)

PAKPAC Board Member Dr Farrukh Adhami and Indiana community leaders met with Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN). Congressman Jim Banks sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

PAKPAC Meets with Collin Allred (D-TX)

PAKPAC President Dr. Jalil Khan and board members Rao Kamran and Arif Mahmood met with Congressman Collin Allred for a productive meeting where they discussed the PAC and US foreign relations. Representative Allred is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

PAKPAC Meets with Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA)

PAKPAC Board Member Riffat Chughtai and Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) met for a stimulating and candid discussion on US foreign policy. Representative Wild sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs along with the subcommittee on Global terrorism.

What a Night!

During Ramadan, PAKPAC held its 2nd annual Bipartisan Congressional Iftar on the rooftop of our amazing office overlooking Capitol Hill.

Being bipartisan, we awarded four Congressional leaders – two from both sides of the aisle. Congressman Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) a senior member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees was one of those who was honored that special evening.

Now, if anyone has ever held a conference, they know that event planning can be quite challenging. It can demand the need to navigate many variables—especially when it’s political. Not only does one need to focus on the venue, time, and budget, one also deals with personalities. It is never easy to decide whom to invite and whom to recognize for their services.

When PAKPAC decided to honor Congressman Joe Wilson, it showed foresight and political prowess, like never seen before in the Pakistani-American community.

Earlier this year, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-California) announced that he will retire from Congress. Unlike Democrats, Republicans have rules that limit their committee chairmen terms.

Congressman Wilson was so impressed with the PAKPAC Iftar, that he extended an invitation to a special reception he hosted to support more junior Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

As a PAKPAC board member, I had the honor of attending his reception. Much to my surprise, not only were there many members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but also the three top House Republicans, Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, also attended!

This was a unique opportunity of a lifetime – to be in a small room with the entire foreign policy leadership of the Republican Party!

After the conclusion of the reception, the Congressman insisted that I join him for dinner since my flight was not until 10PM.

This might have been the most memorable Iftar of my life. For over 90 minutes, I sat next to the future top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee discussing family, work, world affairs, Rotary clubs and everyday life in Pakistan. We even managed to discuss religion and politics, without rancor.

Now don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t necessarily a smooth conversation; when you have differences, it can be a challenge. But this unique encounter made me realize, that for the sake of our children, we must learn to go beyond our comfort zone. We must learn to engage with one another, no matter the differences.

Of course, many of us have “engaged” through interfaith dialogue at our local mosques. Mosques are important, but because we must follow the law, politics will have its limitations in a place of worship. This is why PACs are important. They allow us to amplify our political power through an institution. If we are to grow as a community, we must learn to become politically savvy. We must learn to appreciate the importance of political fundraising, political dialogue and political contacts. Joe Wilson has engaged in dialogue with not only leaders from around the globe, but also with us as members of PAKPAC.

Dr. Salman Malik – Londonderry, NH

NYC First Responder Kashif Hussain on The Tragic Event in New York City

PAKPAC’s New Intern: Zoya Sattar

Zoya Sattar is a sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland majoring in International Studies. Raised in Oklahoma, Zoya has a passion for Conflict Resolution. Growing up in such a conservative part of the country helped her realize the importance of bipartisan efforts and dialogue in making change happen. She aspires to focus in conflict resolution and become a diplomat to resolve the increasing global tensions in this rapidly changing world.

Hoping to focus on the Middle East and South Asia in terms of foreign policy, Zoya is currently learning Arabic, and brushing up her Urdu-speaking skills.

During her time at Johns Hopkins till now, Zoya has been a member of the Model United Nations team, the Awareness Director for the JHU Chapter of Nourish International, and the External Community Relations Chair for the Muslim Student Association Board. Through all of these positions, she hops to foster conversations on how we can all come together to work for a common goal.

Zoya is excited to intern with PAKPAC this semester and looks forward to empowering the community during these critical times.


Social media surveillance by the Department of Homeland Security: What you need to know.

DNC Eid Celebration

On Wednesday night, the Democratic National Committee hosted an Eid celebration. PAKPAC was honored to be invited and celebrate religious freedom and the diversity that makes America great. Over 100 community leaders representing Arab, Turkish and African American leaders joined this special night. Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, both Muslim, spoke passionately and held private conversations with PAKPAC members.

Inspiring Tele-Townhall

After spending almost six hours canvassing door to door, I came back to the office and sank into my chair, breathing a sigh of relief. The wall in front of me displayed a map of the targeted neighborhoods. Gigantic is an understatement to describe the mammoth that was our task at hand. As I stared at the map on the wall, I tuned out the fact that my legs burned, my body ached, and I had not drunk water in four hours; but I felt numb. In fact the fatigue provided a sense of fulfillment. This fulfillment is transcendent, incomparable and a feeling seldom experienced solely because it is attached to a personal belief or an application of altruism. I was first acquainted to this feeling when I was working on President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign as an Organizing Fellow.

I was reminded of this inspiring feeling once again on July 5th on a tele-townhall with over 30 national community members and Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA).

Rep. Takano has faced many battles and has exemplified perseverance throughout his life. Being the son of Japanese immigrants who were victim to discrimination and systematically oppressed by internment camps, Takano chose to make a difference. He devoted his life to Public Service and never looked back. The congressman is the first openly gay representative of color and his unapologetic candor sets inspiring precedent for the aspiring youth. As a young Pakistani American, Rep. Takano showcased for me the possibility of succeeding by making the odds work in your favor.

It is no secret that the current political climate has made young Pakistani Americans weary of who they are, where they are and what they believe in. These facts of life aren’t singular and it is important to remember that in order to dispel misconceptions and break free of labels we must not internalize but express and become active. We have a duty that was bestowed upon us by the nature of chance. Although we cannot control the actions of others, as a community we can control our reactions. As Rep. Takano devoted his life to government and public service even though the aforementioned republic oppressed his family, we have a compelling duty to do the same.

I implore my fellow Pakistani Americans to educate and to learn about the political process. Get out there. Get involved. Ignite a political passion in your local community.

Join PAKPAC this summer!

Mr. Ahsan Ali, New York