It was 30th of September when Pakistani Association Australia (based in Sydney NSW) arranged a dinner for celebrating the 64th Independence Day of Pakistan. Function was organised in Saphire Function Hall, Auburn. As usual a large number of Sydneysiders arrived to attend the event with their families. A good number of Australian Parliamentarians were also there. As per the schedule, initially there had to be a few speeches followed by the dinner and musical evening with Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, who was in Sydneyduring last two weeks.
Pakistani High Commissioner Mr. Abdul Malik Abdullah was the chief guest. The biggest drawback of the event was that there was no flag of Pakistan in the hall, where Pakistani community had gathered for celebrating the national day of Pakistan. On my notice and request the management guys arranged a small flag which was just put on a side wall with the scotch tape. Function started at 7:30 pm with the recitation from Holy Quran. After that a long and lengthy session of useless speeches started. People had an idea that there would be 4 to 5 speakers at the maximum, but president of the association Rana Iftikhar brought every single Australian on the stage. Aisha Amjad was anchoring the event and she was quite good.
Pakistani High Commissioner delivered the best speech on Pak-US relations, but even the organisers kept busy in their chats and paid no attention to the chief guest at all. People were already fed up of the never-ending long speeches. Then Rana and his associates awarded their favourite persons, except a talented young student Usman, with the achievement awards.
For the musical programme, it was decided that other than Shafqat, three local singers (Shagufta Zia, Mehreen Javed and myself) will perform two songs each. However due to too much of speeches and a session of funds collection for the Pakistani flood affectees, only Shagufta Zia was given 5 minutes for a single song because she and her daughter are members of the association.
A total of $9,000 were collected for the Prime Minister Flood Relief Fund, which was an appreciable point. After the dinner and funds collection only 35-40 people left in the hall, who wanted to listen to Shafqat Ali Khan. Shafqat gave a great lesson by telling the organisers right from the stage that they would have to pay attention to him rather than discussing their own issues. He later performed six extremely good Sufi melodies. Function continued till midnight. Lack of planning and discipline were the main causes of failure of this event.