Monday, September 29, 2008

Town Hall Event with Gov Howard Dean in SF Bay Area


On October 23rd the South Asian American community has a unique opportunity to hear from Gov. Howard Dean, Chairman DNC just 10 days before the general election.

Not only we have an opportunity to make an important contribution to the Obama Campaign, high profile events such as these serve to institutionalize our engagement in the political process
The event theme will focus around foreign policy, with emphasis on South / South-west Asia.

There are a couple ways you can attend:

1 - Individual contributor: $500 min.
2 - Co-Host: Help raise/contribute $5,000
3 - Contributions will go towards "Obama Victory Fund"

Let me know if you're interested in attending the even.


Abdulrahman Rafiq

Why should you participate in the Oct 23rd event?


Our sustained participation and success in the political process hinges on our ability to mobilize our communities and resources at critical times like these. Despite the campaign's success in raising funds, there's still a need as the race gets tight in months to come


This event will most likely be the last DNC events specifically for South Asian Americans. Today, South Asians -- Indo- and Pakistani-Americans -- are playing a significant role in both the party and the presidential campaign. It is heartening to see Pakistani and Indo-American communities coming together in support of Sen. Obama. Our August 17th event could not have come on a better date - days after our communities commemorate 61st Independence Days of India and Pakistan. It is befitting that nations who were inspired by America's ideals of liberty join hands decades later in support of agruably the most compelling presidential candidate in America's history.


By engaging in the political process, we have a shot at impacting policy over the long haul, and contribute to developing solutions for myriad issues common to all Americans. We are already beginning to institutionalize our involvement with the formation of groups such as the South Asian American Leadership Council (SAALC) and the South Asian Policy group in the DNC. You will have the opportunity to engage and influence direction this country takes with 'a seat on the table' alongside with other members of Senator Obama's broad coalition of all Americans.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tariq Ali in Silicon Valley

Tariq Ali at the PADF hosted event on September 28, 2008 in Newark, California
To read more about the event visit WadiBlog

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Tariq Ali in Silicon Vall

On Saturday, September, 29, 2008: The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) hosted the renowned author, Tariq Ali in Newark, California.The event was well attended by Bay Area Pakistanis of all walks of life. From the Silicon Valley Pakistani-American yuppi to Pakistanis of the wider Bay-Area, not necessarily associated to Silicon Valley.

Mr Ali discussed the current geo-political situation in Pakistan. A detailed video account of the event will be posted shortly by Cemendtaur a freelance WadiBlogger, however I'd like to highlight a few points I jotted down on my Facebook Blog:
  • He said "it is unfair to blame the war exclusively on Pakistan."
  • Ali says it's sad the Presidential candidates are promoting bombing of Pakistan. He says Pakistani-American need to organize and take lesson from their AIPAC counterpart.
  • Ali says frankly Muslims are under attack because of the oil that exists under Muslim lands. And Pakistans geographic location is key. He further remarks that Islam is not the enemy of the west, it's been made out to be due to the oil wealth Muslim nations are sitting on. If it were, say Buddhist nations sitting on the worlds oil reserves then we'd be hearing about Buddhists terrorists.
  • Ali has a colleague doing research for him and says what they've found is the language being drafted on how to deal with Muslims is similar to the language used in the 20s and 30s against Jews
  • Ali says Barak Obama is disappointing - he started out fine but doesn't like how he has been pushed into a corner by the system.
  • Ali doesn't accept Robert Fisk statement that Pakistan nuclear power is the issue. He is surprised at Fisk for making such a remark, as he is a very capable journalist, and 'no Pakistan is not the powder keg of the world.'
  • Tariq Ali further goes on to quotes a UNDP study: 60 percent of Pakistanis born today are stunted. He said that instead of pouring billions into combating extremism the world powers need to find ways to pump those same dollars in to social reform issues - such as overhauling the Education System in Pakistan to job creation and sustainable income generation schemes for the masses.

*Cross-posting to WadiBlog

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Friday, September 26, 2008

Time to act and Support "Grassroot" Entrepreneurs in the 3rd World

Father sells infant of Rs. 100 (US $1.30) in Badin, Sindh, Pakistan

BADIN: By being sick of poverty in Golarchi area of Badin district, a father sold out his infant of Rs. 100, who was born two hours ago on Friday.

Police raided the alleged buyer’s home on complaint of infant’s mother and recovered the baby.

Police recovered the baby having raided the home of alleged buyer on complaint of infant’s poor mother after five hours of the incident and arrested the seller (father) and buyer, police sources said.

Alleged buyer told the police that the infant’s father was unable to bring up his child that made him sell the infant. He then paid hundred rupees to the alleged father in return to buy sweets and guaranteed to bear the infant’s living expenditures in future. [GEO NEWS]

Your first reaction may be what, how could he sell his infant? But this is coming from folks living high in their ivory towers looking down at the impoverished masses. If you are reading this blog post then you most likely are one of those new age elitist, and I include myself who come up with grandiose ideas on how to eradicate poverty - from creative financial schemes to job creating projects. All is well and good, however where has it gotten us? Yeah, perhaps it has helped a few people - however there are still countless people, like this father with next to little avenues to turn to for help.

I am beginning to wonder, how can one talk about projects such overhauling the National IT policy or establishing centers of higher learning when the basic necessities of the common people are still to be met? Lets first find ways to alleviate poverty, then talk about other nation building ventures - which if you ask me are luxuries we can do without for the time being. This is where the Government can help. Yet, they are too busy building their own ivory fortress to give a hoot about the common man.

It's easy to say: "Oh why don't they go get jobs?", for crying out loud how are they to find jobs when their are none to go around?

We need sustained income generation programs that recognize peoples innate skills, and land them in jobs, or help them establish business that pay decent wages.

In addition macro-Economic reform is needed. Inflation needs to be curbed. Government subsidies on essential goods and services will help. And finally, a Universal health care program is needed.

Who will do this? From the looks of it, the Government does not appear to be in a position to act.

However, all hope isn't lost. I'd like to take the opportunity to propose a Poverty Alleviation Program to support "grassroots" entrepreneurs in impoverished parts of the world. For starters we'll focus on Pakistan.

The program will launch under the aegises of PakSEF (or the Pakistan Science & Engineering Foundation). PakSEF is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) California based organization.

is dedicated to the proposition that making discoveries, and applying scientific knowledge to solve human problems is the birthright of all free people.

To find out how you can participate in this program email Or you may also make a monetary donation of an amount of your choosing to PakSEF's "grassroots" Entrepreneurship Program.

Let's help people help themselves by realizing the power of their own ingenuity!

For pennies to the dollar we can help establish 1 person in a vocation of his choosing, and ensuring one family with a chance at a decent, and steady livelihood.

The funds collected will be distributed to pre selected individuals on a case by case basis. To learn more about the program or to participate email

All donations are tax deductible under
section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code
Taz ID# 20-2950808

*Cross-posting to Scitech Wire, WadiBlog

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Monday, September 22, 2008

While the country burns...

While the country burns, our core leadership team is found globe trotting - Islamabad to London, London to New York.

Authorities have termed the 9/20 disaster the worst Terrorist attack in Pakistani soil. In fact Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the late Benazir Bhutto and recently "elected" President of Pakistan referred to this as "Pakistan's 9/11".

Zardari in London on way to UN

Here is a recap of the Terrorist attack on 9/20:

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Zaradari elected President of Pakistan - What's your reaction?

PPP stalwart and cabinet member Sherry Rehman congratulated Mr. Zardari on his election win calling it a "victory for democracy."

"This man suffered jail for more than 11 years for the sake of democracy and today he is elected as the president of the country and it is a sign of the strengthening of democracy," stated Sherry Rehman.

What do you think? [Comment here]

One view point, and a fairly interesting one might I add is from a friend many of you may know as iFaqeer (or Sabahat Ashraf) is ( that Zardari rightfully earned the Presidency. You may be thinking 'what, he earned it!'. That was my initial reaction before my chat last night with Sabahat.

His view is: he earned it based on the fact that he played the political game, no matter how dirty and crooked his tactics he has proven to be "politically savvy". He got the 2/3 majority vote from the Federal and provincial Assemblies.

Though I am not entirely convinced, I do see where iFaqeer is coming from - he does have a point, but I can't discount Zaradari's infamous history, let alone he still has to release pre PCO judges. What do you Think?

Sabahat/iFaqeer's post titled "On Zardari" can be read here.