Torrance, Calif., March 25 — U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson,
and Rep. Jane Harman from California’s 36th District on March 5 joined
a group of about 20 prominent Southern California Pakistani-American community
leaders in a gathering to discuss U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relations and issues relating to trade,
education and health.
Pervaiz Lodhie, president and founder of LEDtronics, Inc., hosted the meeting
at his Torrance company and moderated the two-panel discussions. A pioneer
in the design and manufacture of light-emitting diodes, LED lamps, indicators
and other lighting products for varied markets for 26 years, the firm has become
an industry leader in the booming energy-efficient lighting technology sphere.
But it was in his capacity as humanitarian activist and philanthropist that
Lodhie undertook the initiative, together with Shoaib Kothawala, president
and CEO of International Textile & Apparel, Inc.
“We have to do everything we possibly can, all of us together, to ensure
that we maintain true democracy in Pakistan and give the elected government
the chance to succeed,” Ambassador Patterson told the select group of
Southland expatriates. The attendees included distinguished members from academia,
medicine, banking, the media, and electronics, technology and textiles industries.
She urged them to be “more active in the political situation in Pakistan,” noting
that no civilian government has ever finished its term in the history
of the country.
Mr. Lodhie inquired the ambassador as to the role Pakistani Americans could
play to improve prospects for the government and ordinary citizens in the embattled
“Key to Pakistan’s turnaround is Pakistanis bringing money back
and investing it there,” said Amb. Patterson, who was acting U.S. Ambassador
to the United Nations in 2005 and has served as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan
since May 2007.
Elaborating on comments made by other participants, Mr. Lodhie bemoaned the
lack of organized political advocacy on the part of the Pakistani American
community and the need for joint effort and fund-raising. “Being here
50 years, this community is really at the beginning stage of realizing that
when it comes to a collective need, that we have to be heard in Washington,
D.C., through people such as Congresswoman Jane Harman,” he said.
In the segment devoted to education and health, Amb. Patterson pointed out
the dichotomy between Pakistan’s development of advanced weaponry and
the inadequacy of resources devoted to the most basic of social needs. “It’s
the lowest percentage of education and health expenditure on the planet,” she
remarked. Mr. Lodhie concurred. “Unless you have the masses get basic education...
children from these villages that have never gotten the opportunity to go to
school will never become the scientists, the pioneers and the entrepreneurs
that the country desperately needs,” he said, emphasizing the need to
establish a top-down foundation of education from kindergarten to higher education.
For almost 10 years, Mr. Lohdie has been going back to his ancestral homeland,
where he has established educational projects, donated solar panels, water
pumps and low-energy LED lighting to remote villages as well as the 2005 earthquake
survivors. In 2003, the California businessman and engineer initiated a philanthropic program
for the socio-economic development of Pakistanis who live below the poverty
Also in attendance were Congresswoman Harman’s chief of staff, John
Hess, and ex-Congressman Jim Moody, along with Salim Adaya, Danish Gajiani,
Sattar Abbasi, Aiesha Ghauri, Aitezzaz (Bob) Din, Adnan Khan, Fiza Shah, Shezad
Rokerya, Tariq Chaudhary, Arif Mansuri, Ghazala Khan, Salman Naqvi, Yousuf
Shaikh, Hasan Shirazi, Salim Iqbal and Asim Ashray.
Founded in 1983, LEDtronics is a leader in designing, manufacturing and packaging
state-of-the-art LEDs to meet the world’s constantly changing lighting
needs. The product line encompasses an array of direct incandescent lamp replacement
based LEDs; low-cost, snap-in and relampable panel mount LEDs; high-intensity,
sunlight-visible discrete LEDs; PCB LEDs; circuit board status indicators;
surface-mount diodes, SMT LEDs, full-spectrum RGB LEDs, and Infrared (IR) LEDs.