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Peace Rally In Sacramento, California
Ras H. Siddiqui Fremont, USA

Feb. 01 2002 -  The Pakistani Americans War Prevention Committee (PAWPC) of the Pakistani-American Congress, brought its caravan of peace between India and Pakistan to the steps of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento on Friday January 25, 2002. And as with the previous Rally covered by this reporter held in San Francisco earlier this month, it was not the number of people that were present that mattered but more the impact that they made which counts. Just to compare, I even received a call from the Washington Post Newspaper (a career first) on the report written on the San Francisco event. PACWPC’s initiator Dr. Khawaja Ashraf was also interviewed in a subsequent Post report.
The Sacramento Peace Rally was part of what can be termed “A Day of Peace in South Asia” that the Pakistani Community here held with much success. The other events of the day including the visit of Pakistan’s Consul General Raana Rahim warrant a separate detailed report.
Mr. Talat Sattar, Mutahir Kazmi, Abdul S. Khan, Arshad Wahla, Tasawar Khan  and myself from the Sacramento region remained at the local forefront of this effort assisting Dr. Khawaja Ashraf, Prof. Jehangir Hamdani and Javaid Syed from the San Francisco Bay Area. And just to mention here, we are indebted to Mr. Rashid Ahmad for his help in the initial planning of this Rally and I believe that due to the many other responsibilities that he had on the same day, this later split up of individual efforts worked in our collective favor.  The Sacramento peace rally venue, the California State Capitol has historically been utilized for many of our Community efforts due to its high visibility and the fact that this landmark is a symbol of our vibrant American democracy. And it is here that on this day Ms. Punam Kaura from the local Hindu community and Subedar Joginder Singh representing the Sikhs of this area along with a number of Pakistani-Americans utilized their democratic rights to say “NO” to war between India and Pakistan, whose poor people already suffer the indignity of poverty, illiteracy and the shortage of other basic human needs. This message was echoed at many places in Sacramento throughout the day (on local television (Channel 3) and the Sacramento Bee Newspaper gave it significant coverage the following day in its Saturday edition. 
The message from the Pakistani-American community was put together in the form of a petition to the Governor, which was received by Mr. Steve Maviglio, Press Secretary to California Governor Gray Davis.  The basic message was two fold: 1) There should be no war between India and Pakistan and 2) A Peaceful and just solution has to be found to the Kashmir Dispute the main source of the problem between India and Pakistan.
Thanks are in order to all that made this Rally possible especially members of our Pakistani-American community from ages 7 to 70 along with our Hindu and Sikh friends for showing their concern for people back home. We are aboard this India-Pakistan peace train in the United States at the moment. Let us hope that the current leadership in India especially and in Pakistan will hear our collective message and stop a great tragedy from happening to a people who already share many hardships. 

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