Houstonian Corner (V14-I1)

December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Lone Star State’s Economy Rebounding Faster than United States as Whole

As 2011 comes to an end, a variety of economic indicators point to the fact that Texas may be pulling itself up by its bootstraps and, despite a national recession, watching the state economy rebound.

Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs reports Texas unemployment is down and sales tax collections from retail businesses are up. Both point to a state economy whose health is improving even faster than the country as a whole. And looking ahead, innovative government solutions and new revenue sources such as gas production from Eagle Ford Shale could move the state out of the economic downturn even faster.

Earlier this month, Combs distributed $478.3 million in sales tax allocation to cities, counties, transit systems and special districts. Sales tax revenue for November totaled $2.7 billion, up 12.2 percent over the same month last year. But more importantly, the November distribution marked the 20th consecutive month for increases in Texas sales tax revenues.

Along with increased consumer spending, the state also is benefitting from employment gains. The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 58 consecutive months.

Local government subdivisions are dealing with budget shortfalls with innovative ideas aimed at saving money and making government more efficient. To avoid tax increases and cuts in services, some are sharing services – from public safety and 9-1-1 operations to human resources personnel and city/county equipment. Many are exploring bringing private sector entities into the picture to help fund necessary infrastructure and construction projects through public-private partnerships. Still others are looking at ways to cut costs by being more energy efficient, with energy audits, retrofits and installation of more energy-efficient products to trim skyrocketing energy costs. Installation of solar panels and wind turbines to generate their own power has become the norm.

The state and some local governments also will be keeping a close eye on the Eagle Ford Formation, dubbed “Eagle Ford Shale.” This rock formation is rich in oil and natural gas and runs approximately 400 miles from along the Texas-Mexico border in South Texas toward East Texas. Some officials estimate oil reserves at 3 billion barrels with an output that could be up to 420,000 barrels a day. Although controversial because of concerns about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as the means of producing oil and gas from it, the potential of Eagle Ford Shale could be a boon to both the state and to local governments in the areas in which it lies. State and local tax revenues could skyrocket.

DeWitt County already is making money off the formation, as that county is charging an $8,000-per-well fee from drilling companies seeking to tap Eagle Ford Shale inside their county lines.

A University of Texas at San Antonio study suggested that tax revenue tied to the formation may reach $1.65 billion a year by 2020, up from $108.5 million this year.

With the drilling come jobs. And with the jobs come people. And those people earn paychecks and spend their money locally, boosting both the state and local tax receipts. At the local level, that means improvements in transportation infrastructure, water and wastewater, construction of new schools and government facilities and other amenities.

With increased employment and more retail sales at the state level, 2011 will end on a high note for the Texas economy. And with the state and local government entities looking for efficiencies in government and new sources of revenue such as Eagle Ford Shale, it appears that economic uptick will continue into 2012.

Fervent Election Campaign in PCC-USA

Elections of PCC-USA
Elections of PCC-USA

Khalid Kazi is President-Elect

Houston, Texas (Staff Report): Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) is a leading association of Pakistani entrepreneurs in USA, with Chapters in Houston, San Diego, and New York. Fifty founding members Advisory Council, under the leadership of Dr. Ashraf Abbasi, established PCC-USA as a premier business organization in Houston, Texas, on August 14th, 1997 to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of Pakistan Independence Day.

This Year 2011 became the first time, when some of the office bearers of PCC-USA got elected after actual voting. In the past, usually all the executive council positions used to be filled with only one nominating person per position; and as such getting elected unopposed.

PCC-USA runs on the basis of President-Elect system, where the president elected in these past December 2011 elections will be President in 2013, while will be called President-Elect in 2012; and Waseem Rahim, who was elected unopposed in December 2010 & was President-Elect for 2011, will be President for 2012. This way President-Elect gets to work side by side with the President (P. J. Khan Swati in 2011) and gets trained by the time his or her time comes to be President.

While talking to the candidates, who had insisted on participating in actual elections, despite being asked by many to withdraw their names, our correspondent learned that their idea to participate in the elections was not to win, but inspiration was to instill new life in this important association of the community. Near them organizations, where there is no culture of actual elections and no tolerance of listening to opposing but sincere ideas, such associations become dormant over a period of time (we have such examples in our own city of Houston). They pointed out that several inactive senior members of the community were seen coming out to vote and participate in this decision making process, plus the paid membership of the association has gone to some sort of records level. The new office bearers that have brought all these people out to vote and made new members, will now need to keep all of them involved with healthy activities and use their strength to develop programs for common business persons of the community & improve trade ties between USA & Pakistan.

According to Rashid Khokhar, Chairman PCC-USA Election Commission (other members being GulFaraz Khan and Zubair Ashraf), elections results were like this:

President-Elect: Khalid Kazi (Won) Vs Zafar Mansuri;
Senior Vice President: Sheikh Muhammad Awais Vs Pervez Iqbal (Won);
Director Finance: Ch. Mahmood Ahmed (Won) Vs Asif Ehsan;
Vice President – Administration: Nargis F. Ahmed (Unopposed);
Vice President – Liaison: Mian Aziz (Unopposed);
Vice President – Marketing: Zaki Mohammed Mirza (Unopposed);
Vice President – Media Relations: Mumtaz Khan (Unopposed);
General Secretary: Abdur Rauf Khan (Unopposed);
Joint Secretary: Iqbal Akhtar (Unopposed)…

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Houstonian Corner (V13-I49)

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ISGH Elections at Main Center this Coming Sunday December 04th – 9AM-4PM

The largest one community Islamic Organization in USA, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), has elections for various office bearers every year. Usually the last Sunday of November is Early Voting Day and first Sunday of December is actual Voting Day.

This time after several years some of the positions have only one candidate and also some persons, who used to hold higher positions in previous years, are up as candidates for minor level positions. These trends show lack of interest in the newer generation and fresh blood to become office bearers of ISGH.

Last Sunday, at the Main Center, ISGH Members came out to vote early despite extremely cold and windy weather. This year is Vice President and Treasurer Election Year 2011, while next year will be President and General Secretary Election Year 2012.

Chairman of ISGH Election Commission Azam Akhtar (www.ISGH.Org) has informed that this year, the elections are for these positions (here underneath IC means Islamic Center):
Vice President (Fuad Cochinwala elected unopposed);

Treasurer (Aftab Silat elected unopposed);

Director, Northwest Zone (Nasrattullah Attaie, Matloob Khan);

Associate Director, NW – Bear Creek IC (Mohammad Yousuf, Nusrat Mir);

Director, Southeast Zone Director (Abdool F. Rasheed, Emran Gazi, Manzoor Ali);

Associate Director, NO – Champions IC (Imran Nathani, Taher Hamid Abu Dawood, Shiraz Chohan);

Associate Director SW – New Territory IC (Rafiq Bhojwani, Jonaid Ahmed);

Director, South Zone (Irfan Bhardi elected unopposed);

Associate Director, NO – Adel Road IC (Ibrahim Badat elected unopposed);

Associate Director, NO – Woodlands IC (Ayman Khalil elected unopposed);

Associate Director, SW – Synott Road IC (Naeem Khan elected unopposed);

Associate Director, SW – Mission Bend IC (Usman Vaid elected unopposed);

Associate Director, SE – Baytown IC (Muhammad A. Malhi elected unopposed);

Area Representatives for all Islamic Centers (Masajid) of all Zones (several candidates)

PCC-USA: Positive Sign – At Last There May Be Elections on December 21st, 2011

Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) is a leading association of Pakistani entrepreneurs in USA, with Chapters in Houston, San Diego, and New York. Fifty founding members Advisory Council, under the leadership of Dr. Ashraf Abbasi, established PCC-USA as a premier business organization in Houston, Texas, on August 14, 1997 to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of Pakistan Independence Day.

This Year 2011 may become the first, when some of the office bearers of PCC-USA will be elected after actual voting, as in the past, usually all the executive council positions used to be filled with only one nominated persons; and as such elected unopposed.

December 06th is the last day to withdraw the name from nominations and our correspondent has learned that this year, there is every chance that at least on three positions, there will be elections (of course if names are withdrawn, there will be no elections).

According to the communiqué received from Rashid Khokhar, Chairman PCC-USA Election Commission (other members being GulFaraz Khan and Zubair Ashraf), elections are for these PCC-USA positions will be held at the annual meeting of Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, with opportunity to withdraw the names by 11pm., Tuesday, December 06th, 2011:

President-Elect: Khalid Kazi and Zafar Mansuri;

Senior Vice President: Sheikh Muhammad Awais and Pervez Iqbal;

Director Finance: Ch. Mahmood Ahmed & Asif Ehsan;

Vice President – Administration: Nargis F. Ahmed (Unopposed);

Vice President – Liaison: Mian Aziz (Unopposed);

Vice President – Marketing: Zaki Mohammed Mirza (Unopposed);

Vice President – Media Relations: Mumtaz Khan (Unopposed);

General Secretary: Abdur Rauf Khan (Unopposed);

Joint Secretary: Iqbal Akhtar (Unopposed)…

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Houstonian Corner (Volume 13 Issue 34)

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Landmark Radio Light Of Islam Enters Into The 18th Year

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Houston is considered as the Mecca of Community Media Outlets, with many Weekly Newspapers; Daily & Weekly Radio Shows. One of the longest running Radio Program is Light Of Islam (www.LightOfIslamRadio.Com)

Community entrepreneur Maqsood Siddiqui has been conducting this show, since August 14th, 1994. It comes on Houston Radio Frequency 1460AM every Friday between 1pm.-2pm. and every Monday between 9pm.-12am. and can also be heard worldwide at www.LightOfIslamRadio.Com

A special program was done this past Monday night to commemorate the entering into the 18th year of Light of Islam. Several community personalities were present including former Islamic Society of Greater Houston President Dr. Moein Butt, President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) P. J. Swati, PCC-USA Officer Bearer Abdur Rauf, and many others.
Everyone appreciated the hard work and perseverance of Maqsood Siddiqui for continuing to provide this community service for 17 years.

Maqsood Siddiqui informed: “We started this program because radio had become very popular media among the community, especially those from India-Pakistan-Bangladesh; and to provide voice to the Muslim community to learn our religion and for the preservation of the Muslim identity of our future generations. We have evolved to also provide other services like Hajj package, Matrimonial Services especially for those in late 30s and early 40s, Counseling Services, etc. Our most popular segments have been opportunity for the young ones to come live on air and read from the Quran or presenting Hamd-o-Naat; understanding of Islam by scholars like Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal of Madrasae Islamiah, Late Imam Mohammad Naseem, and many others from throughout the world.”
Special cake was cut on the occasion, and everyone was offered snacks and tea. For more information, one can reach Maqsood Siddiqui at 1-832-298-7860.

Calls for Unity at Houston Consulate Pakistan Day Celebrations

“Mudslinging in the community should finish. If we aspire to secure a progressing and peaceful Pakistan, we need to start here in Houston, through our mature, civil and responsible behavior,” these were the approximate words of Amir Shah of The Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN), as he was one of the many speakers, who spoke at the traditional flag hoisting ceremony at the Houston Pakistani Consulate on the occasion of independence day of Pakistan August 14th.

Emcee of the event was Faisal Amin, Honorary Investment Advisor to the Government of Pakistan. He read the message of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Faisal Amin talked about the fact that this year, he has spent more days in Pakistan than USA and have seen very closely all the huge challenges, the government of Pakistan is facing and trying to resolve.

Others who spoke, included the Consul General of Pakistan Honorable Aqil Nadeem (also read President Zardari’s statement), President of Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) Dr. Aziz Siddiqi, President of Pakistani-American Association of Greater Houston (PAGH) Taslim Siddiqui, President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce USA (PCC-USA) P. J. Swati (talked about enhancing trade links with Pakistan and working on economy to bring Pakistan out of gloom), and President of Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA) Saeed Sheikh (talked about importance of law & order in Karachi for the sake of Pakistan).

Interesting thing about the message of Presdient Zardari was that he mentioned about People’s Party, while as the head of state, he needs to talk mainly about the country Pakistan.

“It is nice to see some young ones here among us. Parents need to inspire their children to become journalists, attorneys, and lawyers, other than doctors & engineers, to able to serve the community, USA, Pakistan, and get personal professionals satisfaction of doing something worthwhile,” said Aqil Nadeem, the Consul general of Pakistan.

This traditional Pakistan Day 14th August Flag Hoisting Ceremony was held at the Houston Pakistani Consulate with much fervor and enthusiasm. Despite Ramadan and heat advisory, appreciable number of people attended. It was heartening to see a bunch of youth that had come with Mrs. Mahmood, who has the privilege of once holding Pakistani flag with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

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