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January 15, 2012

US diplomat calls for removal of misunderstandings

National

January 15, 2012

US Consul GeneralWilliam Martin urged the Pakistani-Americans in attendance at a convention here on Saturday to “tell your Pakistani friends of your experience as Muslims in the United States”. “There is just too much misunderstanding of the United States here in Pakistan, as there is too much misunderstanding of Pakistan in the United States. We can begin to change those misperceptions. So please speak up. Your voices resonate here in Sindh,” he said in his remarks at the Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) convention. Recounting his recent visit to a new Islamic centre and a mosque in southern California, Martin spoke about freedom of religion in his country. He said, “I cherish my friendships with the people of Sindh and will always carry a piece of Sindh in my heart.” The consul general commended the work that Sana had done for flood relief and supporting education in Sindh. He addressed the importance of trade and commercial ties between Pakistan and the US, and urged the protection and advancement of women’s rights. “When women lift themselves up, their families, their communities, and their countries benefit. Girls must be able to learn, study, participate without fear.” He also called upon the participants to condemn the practice of bonded labour in Sindh. “Through your voices, we can bring public awareness of this scourge, so lives will be saved and a better future will emerge for those who live at the edge of the Sindhi economy,” he said. The president of SANA, Dr Valeed Shaikh, who currently resides in Minnesota, invited the consul general to be the chief guest of the convention. SANA has held annual conventions in the US for almost three decades, and Saturday’s event was their second convention here in Sindh. The theme of this year’s convention is “21st Century Sindh: Challenges and Choices’.

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