Event RecapAug 10, 2022
Event recap: Should overseas Pakistanis have a vote in Pakistan?
By Vrinda Batra
On August 4, 2022, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center along with the Muslim American Leadership Alliance hosted an in-person conversation on the history, politicization, and future of overseas voting in Pakistan.
Riffat Chughtai was senior advisor of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and has been working for women and children’s causes for a long time. She volunteered for two Women’s Shelters in her hometown of Pittsburgh and developed programs to involve the ladies from the Muslim community to volunteer for the women in the Shelter.
Riffat also created a non-profit, Pittsburgh Muslim Family Support Services (PMFSS), which carries out various programs for women and youth via counseling for anger management, self-esteem, volunteerism, leadership skills, and how to be accepting of others (interfaith).
Riffat started the first Muslim Youth Group of Pittsburgh that conducted camps tackling different topics that the Muslim Youth were struggling with, such as interfaith marriages, SAT and ACT preps, career development, addictive behavior, addiction, depression, suicide, and more importantly, why it is important for both genders to accept each other as equals and respect each other.
Later on, Riffat was asked to be a mentor for a bigger organization called Pittsburgh Interfaith Youth group to create programs as she had created for the Muslim Youth Group. Those programs were very successful and are still in practice.
To fight for women’s equality, Riffat conducted training workshops for crisis intervention so that non-counselors and therapists could also see signs of depression, suicidal tendencies, drug addiction, and how to communicate better with their young children. Riffat was also part of Allegheny County’s committee on Immigrants and Internationals where she created a cultural sensitivity training program for different State agencies such as the FBI, Police, aging, foster care, social workers, etc.
Riffat is a strong champion and an Honorary Friend of the US-Pakistan Women’s Council which is a public-private partnership program started by the US Department of State.