Wednesday AM March 4th, 2009

photogrpah of Karachi's Mayor Mustafa Kamal signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Mayor Bill White

Karachi's Mayor Mustafa Kamal signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mayor Bill White that declares Pakistan's largest city as a sister city to Houston.ξ Council member M.J. Khan helped pave the way for the memorandum.

"Karachi's the 100th Muslim city where any American city will be signing the Sister City agreement.ξ First of all, both Houston and Karachi are very diverse cities.ξ Both cities are considered cities of opportunities.ξ Both cities are port cities.ξ Both cities have tremendous commitment for business development.ξ Besides that, the way Karachi is dealing with this extremism and Talibanization, Houston can learn a lot from that, and I think the whole world can learn a lot."ξξ

Councilman Khan says there's a huge Pakistani ex-pat community in Houston.

"There are 80,000 to 100,000 people of Pakistani origin living in Houston.ξ I myself, an ex-Karachi-ite.ξ I went to school there, got my education there.ξ I was born in Karachi, so it's really an exciting day for me personally, and 80,000 to 100,00 Pakistani-Americans who live in Houston—they are extremely proud and extremely excited.ξ So that also helps the Sister City agreement, when you have a huge base of natural supporters of this agreement, it just makes things so much easier."

Sister Cities of Houston is a program that develops intercultural understanding and promotes international trade and commerce, economic development and tourism.ξ

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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