CHICAGO: An annual convention of the Association of Pakistani-American Physicians of North America (APPNA), a prestigious event of the Pakistani community in the United States, got under way in Chicago on Wednesday.
The five-day convention is being attended by the families of Pakistani doctors. The organisers of the event say this year the participation was beyond their expectation and that they have run out of hotel rooms to accommodate guests.
“We booked 1,500 rooms for our members and their families in two hotels but even on the first day, we are facing shortage of rooms,” said Dr AR Piracha, the president of APPNA. “The participation is much more than we anticipated.”
The convention also provides an effective platform to the leading political figures and artists from Pakistan for a gathering with Pakistani-Americans. Senate Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro has already arrived here to attend the event. Besides, singers Abrarul Haq, Jawad Ahmad and Fakhir are also there enthral the audience with their lively performance.
Two US senators are expected to attend a luncheon at PAKPAC, a political arm of APPNA. A group of poets from Pakistan has also been invited for a Mushaira — a regular feature of the convention.
Chapters of alumni associations of medical colleges of Pakistan, Dow, King Edward, Liaquat, Nishtar, Khyber, Aga Khan and others will hold their separate dinners and meetings. Pakistani-Americans youths also plan a few of their own programmes and gatherings during the convention.
The convention will culminate on July 9 and till then the Hayyat Regency and nearby Fairmount Hotel will remain crowded with Pakistani-Americans of all ages. An intense election campaign for 2008 election to 2008 office-bearers has been on. The results of the election will be announced before the conclusion of the convention.
Meanwhile, on a sad note, the participants were shocked to know that one of their members was unable to reach the convention because he had an accident on way to Chicago in which his mother died.
Dr Shamim Ahmad, a cancer specialist from West Virginia, along with his mother and wife, was coming to Chicago by car. He met an accident on a highway in Kentucky state. His elderly mother died instantly while Dr Shamim Ahmad received injuries in his head and hands. He was rushed to a hospital by helicopter, where his wife is reported to be in stable condition.