PCCA hosts an inspirational evening with.
August 14, the independence day of Pakistan, brings back fond memories for many Pakistani Canadians who have witnessed the celebrations in Pakistan. The day sparks patriotism in many and provides inspiration for a better tomorrow. Keeping with the traditions of Pakistan, Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association’s women wing arranged a unique and inspirational evening with Pakistani Canadian Senator Salma Attaullahjan to mark the occasion. It was an intimate gathering of women and young girls who had the opportunity to learn about Senator Ataullahjan’s experiences and ask her questions. Guests were welcomed by co-hosts Saima Naz and Arooj Qaiser who conducted the entire program beautifully. The program began with singing of Canadian national anthem led by Aliyah Kazmi followed by the Pakistani national anthem. An inspiring slideshow highlighting Pakistan was then showed on the screens while two young female singers, Syerish and Maleeha. presented national songs. These presentations were followed by a candid interview of Senator Ataullahjan by Saima Naz. Ataullahjan bared her soul when responding to questions about her personal life and her experience in Canadian Politics. She spoke candidly about the challenges of raising children in Canada and keeping them in touch with their Pakistani roots. She also urged everyone to be politically active and make an informed decision about which political party to support. She emphasized that women should be supporting each other and having conversations internally about issues that affect them as they raise a collective voice. She fielded various questions from the audience and discussed issues such as discrimination against women, conflict between personal values and party policies, and working culture for women in Pakistan. Finally, Ataullahjan thanked everyone for their support and urged them to contact her about their issues. Following the interview, young girls represented the diverse culture of Pakistan in various cultural dresses. They also walked around the hall with a huge Pakistani flag symbolizing the famous national song “Iss Parcham k Saye Talay Hum Ek Hain (Under this flag we are one). Philipa Dutt, the reigning Miss Fraser Valley and a proud Pakistani Canadian then took the stage and highlighted women’s progress in Pakistan over the past 70 years. At the end, female directors and Senator Ataullahjan were joined by Mani Deol-Fallon, active member of Conservative Party, President and Vice Presidents of PCCA in a cake cutting ceremony. For the rest of the evening, Ataullahjan mingled with the guests having informal conversations and posing for pictures. It was a night about female empowerment and Sena- tor Ataullahjan’s words offered inspiration. Hats off to Saima Naz, Syeda Bukhari (PCCA - Women’s wing President), and the rest of the team for organizing this motivating event. As I walked out of the event, I remembered the quote from Quaid-eAzam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan: “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.” Indeed, the community can accomplish amazing feats if we work together and support each other.