Official urges Pakistanis in U.S. to enrich the culture

Hayley Odom

Assimilating into U.S. culture and the effects of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on international students and foreign relations were topics of discussion Friday at the Pakistani Student Association Annual Dinner.

Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission to the United States, addressed these issues in front of a group of approximately 150 Pakistani students and community members.

“The whole point is to get the community together,” the group’s President Abdul Basit said. He said the Twin Cities Pakistani community has never had a prominent Pakistani official visit before Sadiq.

“This should help give light to a lot of students that are unaware of situations (in Pakistan),” sophomore PSA member Humza Khan said before the event.

Most of Sadiq’s speech dealt with the necessity for Pakistani students and community members living in the United States to assimilate to mainstream culture.

“Pakistani students add value to American society. If you benefit from society, it’s important to give back,” he said.

Sadiq said Pakistani students must start studying nonscience-based subjects to fully integrate into society.

“Most Pakistani students study science. We want to encourage the study of other subjects that will benefit the community,” he said.

Sadiq also said it is important for Pakistani students to become involved in campus life and to culturally integrate with non-Pakistani students.

The main political issues surrounding Pakistan – the war on terror and Afghanistan, relations with India and the nuclear weapons situation – were the other focuses of Sadiq’s speech.

Kay Thomas, International Student and Scholar Services director was glad to hear Sadiq’s point of view, because of his position in Pakistan’s government.

She said her department is very concerned that fewer international students are applying to the University and the effects that could have on the goal of education.

Junior Huda Malik, event coordinator for the group, said Sadiq addressed several questions people had concerning Pakistan.

“These issues are critical parts that need to be talked about,” she said. “The Pakistani side of the story also needs to be heard, which was the key point of this event.”