(Jan. 2004) The “Safeer e Pakistan” television program which
airs regularly on the PTV Prime
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
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
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.
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.
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.