No White House message to Pakistani parade
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: For the first time since the annual Pakistan Independence Day parade began to be staged in New York, the White House has failed to issue a message of goodwill to the organisers and the Pakistani community on behalf of the president.
While the White House has provided no reason officially for this unusual act, its reluctance to be associated with this event is believed to emanate from questions about the credentials of the parade committee and its organisers.
There are any number of things said to be wrong with the accounts of the Independence Day parade committee. While donations have been sought from Pakistani-Americans with the assurance that such contributions could be claimed as a tax deduction, no such exemption has been granted to the committee by the Inland Revenue Service.
The accounts of past parades are also said to lack proper audit and some of the organisers are believed to have a “record”.
The mayor of New York has so far not confirmed if he would be marching for a few blocks in the parade, as he has done in the past, nor is it certain if the governor of New York would turn up, as he has on several past occasions. Some of the prejudice of the authorities is also to be ascribed to the general sense of unease since September 11 with anything Muslim or associated with Muslims.