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Safeer e Pakistan (PTVprime) Awards Night in California
By Ras H. Siddiqui

(Jan. 2004) The “Safeer e Pakistan” television program which airs regularly on the PTV Prime television channel on the Dish Network here in North America held its 4th. Annual Gala Dinner and “Pride of Performance” Awards Night” on Saturday, January 24th, 2004 at the Hilton Hotel in Oakland, California. And it certainly turned out to be an evening of pride for our community from all across America since Safeer has been instrumental in providing a visual window via the medium of television to many Pakistani-Americans.   
A program of this nature is often difficult to arrange and execute so right off the bat kudos are to be reserved for Waqar Ali Khan and Fatima Khan (of Safeer) and Professor Hasan Jahangir Hamdani and Mrs. Sohab Hamdani along with their entire family for paying attention to the necessary details in what was certainly a logistically challenging task. Just getting together the guest list which came from as far away as Florida, New York, Chicago and Colorado to this venue in the San Francisco Bay Area presented some difficulty. Close to 30 individuals from amongst Pakistani-Americans (and one adopted Indian-American) from California, and all over America received awards for services to  the community. And there to present the awards were Pakistan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Noor Muhammad Jadmani, Mrs. Jadmani, Mr. Tariq Bajwa and last but not least Pop Music icon Jawad Ahmad.
Fatima Khan opened the program and invited all to dinner. The food from the top local restaurants namely Mehran, Shalimar, Lahore Garden and Pakwan, plus sweets from Kulfi Pop satisfied many a palette. Our “thank you” goes to all of these businesses for their continued positive projection of Pakistan’s image here in Northern California.
After Tilawat, Waqar Ali Khan made the opening remarks and made a marketing pitch for the Safeer e Pakistan television program. In a nutshell Safeer is a net exporter of the pulse and activities of Pakistani-Americans while most other programs are importers of news from Pakistan.
The “Man of the Year” award was announced first and went to Mr. Syed Shahid Zaheer for making PTVprime a success in the United States and for making sure that the momentum of its viewer ship does not falter. Mr. Zaheer made a long and reflective speech on receiving his award and pushed for airing of the Pakistani Cricket Team’s matches on PTVprime instead of other channels.
Professor Hamdani next said a few words and stressed the importance of the media everywhere one looks today. He said that he has noticed a positive change in the children of Pakistani households in America that subscribe to PTVprime. He then handed over the evening emcee activities to his sons Ehsan and Eban (of whom the Professor and Mrs. Hamdani should be for proud for doing such a good job). A video on behalf of PTVprime and Safeer was also shown before Consul General Jadmani said a few words. He said that as community members it is in our best interest to keep this (PTV) effort going and thanked everyone for putting this program together.   
“Woman of the Year” was awarded to Mrs. Seeme Gull Hassan for her efforts on behalf of the Pakistani community after the dark days of 9/11 and the follow up crisis that hit us via the discriminatory registration program during which Muslims were targeted. Mrs.  Hassan was well prepared and to the point. She urged San Francisco Pakistani-Americans to work harder for our collective benefit. She briefly touched on her efforts in Washington on behalf of our country of origin. She said that President Bush had a high regard for Pakistan and Pakistanis and especially of President Musharraf. She added that it did not matter whether we were Democrats or Republicans. “We need to lobby on behalf of Pakistan,” she said. Mr. Malik Hassan accompanied his wife at this venue.
Pop icon Jawad Ahmad was introduced next and presented an award for ‘Singer of the Year”. He was also praised for promoting literacy in Pakistan. Along with Jawad other community members who were honored included Professor Akbar Ahmed, Dr. N. Syed, Shehbaz Merchant, Zain Jeewanjee, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Dr. M. Aslam, members of the Hamdani family, Poetess Noshi Gilani, artist/impressionist Kaukab Burny, M. Akhtar Shah, Mr. Abdul Latif and a number of others (space is limited here) including a little known Pakistani-American reporter of questionable writing talents.
The drawback to this ceremony (due to numerous speeches) was that the entertainment segment had to be cut short. The Fashion show by Imaaj Boutique of Artesia, Californiawas well received. But we only heard three or four numbers from Jawad Ahmad. He is certainly a gifted singer with a powerful voice which sounded great even without music. Jawad is involved with the “Taleem (Education) for All” literacy drive in Pakistan for which he was presented money collected for this noble effort from Southern California Pakistanis. He sang “Bin Teray Kiya Jeena” and the funny “Mein Kaisi Lagti Hoon” and two other numbers. Mrs. Shaista Alam  also sang a couple of songs while the Chishty Sisters and the emerging local act of TJ Kool and DJ Mo could not be accommodated to our disappointment.
In conclusion it was good to see the vibrancy of our community that has been re-emerging slowly here in the USA since 9/11. Pakistani-Americans do not have to choose between America and Pakistan. They are already some of the best representatives of both.

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