Inauguration of Overseas Progressive Pakistanis
In the inaugural meeting there were 35 people who belonged to different generations and gender. During the discussions issue of inter-generation interest dominated earlier part of questions and discussion: the first generation was worried about new religious trends mostly adopted by the second generation, and how we can deal with the issue through such a platform. In this sense they wanted to focus on the issues of the communities in this/ Western societies and less on Pakistan / Pakistani society.
Issues of aims and objectives were also widely discussed. Certain points were raised on the term ‘progressive’ in the name of the OPP. Would it not create an impression that others are ‘regressive’ or non-progressive. The labels like progressive is defining others as regressive and thus we can antagonise others. The view from the OPP is that we want to be forward looking group, and that is reflected in our aims and objectives. Progressive is a relative term. You have to stand for something otherwise you stand for nothing and you got no identity. In this sense we should take a position while choosing a name as any choice of a name will raise different kinds of questions.
Another point regarding aims and visions was the issue of focus: what would be the focus of the OPP. For many people the objectives were multiple, and they lacked a focus. What is important for the OPP? should come clearly in the objectives. On different occasions point of clarity in objectives came into discussions. Sometimes it was suggested that the focus should be on something small and that should further first led to implementation. On other occasions the point was raised to develop a general question/issue which should further led to certain kind of direction for the OPP.
During discussion a time was spend to discuss the failure of other organizations: in certain cases the followers were no more interested. Also in some other cases the ‘monopoly effect’ enters where certain people become a kind of ‘lifelong’ leaders, and the rest remains just a follower, that led to losing interest among the rest. To prevent such situations clear rules and regulations should be formulated and people should work with an open agenda. The politics of ‘office-bearer’ should be avoided, and the objectives of the group should always be honoured. The OPP makes it clear that there are no intensions from their sides for any ranking around the office-bearer. All people are just members, and there is no question of individual projection.
In different occasions during discussion the issue of platform was launched as a possible form of structure--- the platform could be organic or virtual. Ideas and suggestion should be discussed through that platform and decision should be taken. In this regard the role of social media is important. That is also a possible forum to attract youth. In this regard it was suggested that we cannot become an NGO.
Regarding the structure and decision making the issue of transparency was discussed. The OPP should be a transparent body --- from its aims and objectives to its plans and their implementations, decision making and other related issues.
Determine the priority list, and what are the means to achieve that.
Suggest some topics for youth: 1). generation gap. 2) Intercultural marriages. 3 identity issues.
How to bring information to others, what is the added value of events like debates, seminar etc.
Date for next meeting.
Quick follow-up meeting as momentum is there.
Start of FB group next to page.