An Unforgettable Visit To Philadelphia

Meeting With A Leading Personality Of Pakistani American Community In An Unforgettable Visit To Philadelphia

By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai

“87 years old, Haji Abdul Waheed, one of the leading personalities of Pakistani American community in Philadelphia metropolitan area had a stroke and has been hospitalized on April 21, 2023,” Dr Imtiaz Chaudhry, Ophthalmologist, a close family friend of Haji Waheed informed me around 9.00 p.m. I have known Haji Waheed for the last 45 years as a soft spoken, gentle, quiet, and considerate person. I visited Haji Sahib at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia along with Ejaz Chaudhry, Attorney-at-Law and the brother of Dr. Imtiaz Chaudhary and Choudhary Mohammad Sabir, a leading figure in Kashmiri American community. We found Haji Waheed in a critical condition and prayed to Allah for his early recovery.

Haji Abdul Waheed was born in Gilgit where his father was working in the office of British Resident to Gilgit Agency. Later, they moved to Sialkot and finally to the United States of America. He was a Chemist by profession and worked in the office of the Coroner of the city of Philadelphia.

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Haji Abdul Waheed along with his close associates, including Manzoor Chaudhry, Javed Hashmi, Abdul Rasheed Malik, Dr Amjad, Dr Javed Iqbal established, “Muslim Society of Delaware Valley (MSDV).’ Today, Muslim Youth Center of Philadelphia and Islamic Cultural Center of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania are under the umbrella of MSDV. May Allah accept the sincere efforts of these unsung heroes of American Muslim community.

While, I was visiting Haji Abdul Waheed, I also visited Manzoor Chaudhry, his wife, Mukhtar Manzoor, and his three accomplished sons, whose humane, pleasant and kind-hearted personalities have had lasting impact on the life of my family. The openness and trust Manzoor Chaudhry’s family has extended to my family has been more than just generous.  I owe a debt of gratitude to this amazing family.

First, when I got married, Mukhtar Manzoor told me that she would like to invite few people to Walimah to be held in Philadelphia. Not knowing what was in her mind, my immediate response was O.K. go ahead. Mukhtar Manzoor along with the wife of Haji Abdul Waheed and other few sisters invited more than 400 guests to the Walimah which took place at Makkah Masjid in Philadelphia. On the top of that, Walimah was complimentary from Manzoor Chaudhry’s family and never asked even for a penny.

Second, Mukhtar Manzoor was the one who shaved the head of our first baby – Muzzammil. Since then, they have become very close family friend. We are appreciative of the dedication and commitment of this family to the cause of Ummah on one side and to the cause of Kashmir on the other.

Third, Mukhtar Manzoor had just visited the grave of Professor Ismail Raji Al-Farooqi, a giant of Islamic scholarship who was assassinated on May 27, 1986. She made special Du’a for Professor Al-Faruqi and his wife, Professor Lamya Al-Al-Faruqi who was also assassinated on May 27, 1986.

Fourth, Manzoor Chaudhry’s family has donated a land to build a mosque at Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania. A detailed plan has been submitted to the township for approval.

Fifth, Manzoor Chaudhary and his family has been engaged in educational projects in his ancestral town – Sargodha – in Pakistan. They have already established an English medium High Scholl and a separate Middle School in the area. We are proud of this wonderful family!

Later, in the evening, I was invited to the dinner by Choudhary Mohammad Sabir, a businessman by profession. Choudhary Sabir has dedicated his life for the cause of Kashmir. He was one of the founders of Kashmir Federation USA and also the member of our board for more than 15 years. Before shifting to Philadelphia, he resided in Brooklyn, New York where I along with late Dr. Ayub Thakur (London) had enjoyed the hospitality of Chaudhary Sabir more than two dozen times. He was responsible for organizing many peaceful protests at the United Nations, as well as other conferences and seminars in New York city and beyond.

Other persons who attended the dinner included: Ejaz Ahmed Sabir, Attorney-at law; Sardar Niaz Khan, a well know leader of Azad Kashmir community; Choudhary Zubair Hussain, Rauf Junvi; Choudahry Mohammad Yunus. I had some delightful conversation with all of them who had come from distances to be the part of this meeting. The dedication of these brothers to the freedom and self-determination of people of Kashmir is beyond question. Ejaz Ahmed Sabir has proved to be the most passionate advocate of the cause of Kashmir in Delaware Valley area and beyond.

I cherish the memories of the time I spent together with Haji Abdul Waheed at Jefferson Hospital, (although he was not conscious), with Manzoor Chaudhry’s family and Choudhary Mohmmad Sabir and other colleagues. It was an unforgettable and incredible experience.


Categories: Kashmir, Memoir

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