Published On: Tue, Sep 12th, 2023
Published in Category: International

APPNA building bridges; nurturing bonds between United States & Pakistan: US Senator Chris Van Hollen

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WASHINGTON: “I want to thank Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) for their enormous contributions to the community and the country. You make us very proud,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“I do want to thank you all especially as physicians and leaders in the medical community, for everything that you do to help protect and strengthen the health of our community here in the area and of course, nationally, throughout the country,” he said. “I do want to salute to the entire Pakistani American community for your enormous contributions to our country and to our community,” he said.

Senator Chris Van Hollen made these remarks, as Chief Guest, during Annual Meeting and Gala Dinner of DMV chapter of Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA). The event was attended by over 200 top physicians and their families of Pakistani descent. APPNA is a non-profit entity and one of the largest medical associations in the United States. DMV comprises of District of Washington, Maryland and Virginia. “You are there to provide care for people in their greatest hours of need. You are there to help nurture and mentor the next generation of doctors and healthcare professionals. You were there to help support groundbreaking medical research at places like NIH. You contribute your ideas and talents to advancing medicine in so many different ways. And you do this in normal times and during the most challenging times,” Senator Hollen said.

“You play a role as ambassadors. You can play a really important role in building bonds between our two countries,” he continued.

Addressing Pakistani Ambassador Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan, Senator Hollen said, “Thank you for being a wonderful representative of the people and the Government of Pakistan to the United States.”

“As many of you may know that my father was a career American diplomat. I grew up in a foreign service so I am a pretty good judge of whether somebody is a good ambassador or not,” he said.

Senator Chris Van Hollen said that he was born in Karachi while his father was serving in Pakistan.

Ambassador Masood Khan in his brief remarks thanked U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen for acknowledging the role of Pakistani-American diaspora and for his support to the community and to Pakistan.

He also lauded Dr. Irfan Suleman, President APPNA DMV for taking the organization to new heights of glory and making Pakistan proud with its successes. “Keep succeeding. You make us proud. Pakistani-American doctors and medical community makes America proud. You make Pakistan proud,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States. “We cherish your successes,” he said.

“Let us celebrate peaks of Pak-US relations and grow them to higher peaks. Let us write a new chapter in Pakistan-United States relationship,” he added. He noted that around 50,000 Pakistani American reside in DMV area including 20,000 in his own state of Maryland. He thanked all Marylanders for all their support to him.

He also said that he was working on bipartisan basis in the United States Congress to help resolve issues related to doctors community including the issue of their reimbursement.

Recalling the devastating floods in Pakistan, Senator Chris Van Hollen noted the quick response from Central Command, USAID and US citizens to the flood affected people. He said that this past June, USAID announced an additional $16 million in development and humanitarian assistance to Pakistan, bringing the total US assistance to Pakistan since the floods to over $200 million in relief. He said that US was playing an important role in helping Pakistan deal with the economic crisis.

“There is much more the United States and the international community can do. It is very important that we continue to build those ties between our two countries. It is in our interest. It is in Pakistan's interest. It supports regionals stability and security. So I look forward to continue to work with all of you to strengthen that relationship as we go forward. He said that the United States would be working closely with Pakistan during the transition phase. He said that United States supports free and fair elections in Pakistan.

“As we move forward in the years ahead, we will strengthen those bonds between our two peoples and make sure that the peoples in both countries can achieve their democratic aspirations, their aspirations to reach their fullest dreams. That is why we want to continue to build that relationship. And you're all a part of them,” he said.

Dr. Irfan Suleman thanked the participants for their support to the organization and helping it achieve its goals.

Ambassador Masood Khan in his concluding remarks also paid tribute to Dr. Irfan Saeed and past presidents of APPNA DMV for the success of the organization. He decorated past president of APPNA DMV with label pins to recognize their services for the organization and the community.