Amir Makhani – President
Amir Makhani has been a long time business and community leader in the Dallas Fort Worth area where he owns a real estate business. He moved to the United States from England 32 years ago after completing his higher education. Since then he has been working with several business and community organizations as a social worker, CEO and real estate developer.
Amir Makhani has been serving the Greater Dallas Asian Chamber of Commerce as member of its Advisory Board. He has also served as Director of the Pakistan Society of North Texas and Director of Nazari Federal Credit Union.
As part of the South Asia Democracy Watch Board of Directors he has been a vital force in establishing connections with business organizations and spearheading fundraising campaigns.
Dr. Qaiser Abbas – Executive Director
One of the founders of South Asia Democracy Watch and its former president, Dr. Qaisar Abbas is an academic scholar, freelance journalist, and grant development consultant. Currently, he is an advisor of the Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University.
He has recently published (co-edited) book From Terrorism to Television: Dynamics of Media, State, and Society in Pakistan, (Routledge, 2020) and frequently writes for newspapers and academic journals on media strategies, grant development, and international affairs
With a doctorate in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Qaisar Abbas provided leadership as Assistant Dean for Grants and Research Development at a Texas university. There he worked with staff and faculty in exploring funding opportunities for several departments. He has also served several American universities as professor of communications, director and associate director.
After completing his master’s in journalism from the University of Punjab, Lahore, he worked for Pakistan Television (PTV) as News Producer. Earlier, he also served the Punjab Directorate of Public Relations as Information Officer.
Tausif Kamal – Board Member
Attorney Tausif Kamal, M.A., J.D., is a Muslim -American pioneer in the legal profession . After obtaining his J.D. from the University of Akron, Ohio in 1975 and passing the state bar examination, he practiced general and corporate law in Ohio and California. Subsequently he specialized in the field of Oil & Gas law as senior counsel for BP, Tenneco, Occidental, and General Counsel for SEPOC, Inc.
Mr Kamal has been an active leader in advocating and defending the legal rights of Muslim and other new immigrants in the U.S. He is an acclaimed writer , columnist, author and analyst on current affairs and human rights concerns . He is a founding Director of South Asia Democracy Watch, Inc., Mainstream Muslim Association of NA, and Association of Attorneys of Pakistan Origin (AAPUS). Currently based in Dallas, Texas, He is married with two children. His elder son practices law with a leading civil rights law firm of Chicago.
Aftab Siddiqui – Board Member
Aftab Siddiqui is one of the founding Board Members of South Asia Democracy Watch and its former president. He is a known human rights activist and played a key role in organizing the Ballot Box Barbecue (2002) – a mass voter registration event at Dallas.
He has been involved with several civic and human rights oranizations. He was President of Dallas Peace & Justice Center and Chair, Muslim Community Center for Human. Aftab volunteered with the United Way of Tarrant County and was the Co-Chair of Family Impact Council and sat on the Cabinet at Tarrant County United Way. He also served in the Board of Texas Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty.
Aftab also played a key role in establishing an Amnesty International Chapter in Pakistan before coming to the US, where he was involved in campaigns against human rights violations and the death penalty. He worked for 16 years at American Airlines until his retirement.
He has completed his BS (Elect), MBA, and MPA at the University of Texas, Arlington. He is married with two sons.
Syed Fayyaz Hassan – Board Member
Syed Fayyaz Hassan is a longtime political and community leader. He has an MA degree in Economics from Michigan State University and a Masters of Applied Sciences from Applied Economics Research Center, University of Karachi.
As a political activist, he is a current Co-Chair of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus. He serves as a member of the Tarrant County Democratic Party Executive Committee since 2002, and he has been elected as a delegate to every Democratic Party state, county, and local conventions since 2002. He was elected as a national delegate to Democratic National Convention in 2004 and 2012.
Syed Hassan served as a member of the steering committee in the “Ballot Box Barbecue” event in 2002. He founded and chaired the first Civil Rights Conference in 2003. He also initiated a community-based group “Pakistan Council of Dallas Fort Worth” and is also a founding Director of “Pakistani American Association of Texas.” Married to Tazeen with two sons Babar and Faiz, he lives in Dallas, Texas.
Syeda Aroob Iqbal – Board Member
Syeda Aroob Iqbal is part of the Board of Directors of South Asia Democracy Watch and its Coordinator in Washington DC.
She is working as an Education Economist with the World Bank Group in Washington DC. Her work focuses on equity and access to quality education globally. Aroob advocates for improved data collection, utilization, and policy reforms for equitable human capital development.
She has a Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor’s in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMD) in Pakistan.
Raja Muzaffar – Board Member
One of the founders of South Asia Democracy Watch, Raja Muzaffar, is currently a member of its Board of Directors. He frequently writes on Kashmir and South Asian affairs for online and print media.
He became a prominent Kashmiri leader in Pakistan after returning from the Middle East as an engineer in 1975. He held several leadership positions, including Senior Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Currently, he serves Kashmir Global Council as a member of its Board of Directors and a former Chair of the Kashmir Committee, Dallas Peace and Justice Center.
Zahid Akhtar Khanzada – Board Member
Raja Zahid Khanzada, as one of South Asia Democracy Watch’s founders, serves as an active member of its Board of Directors. He is a social activist, journalist, and political worker.
Before coming to the US, he earned master’s degrees in Business Administration, Political Science, and Sociology from Sindh University. He worked for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and served the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Khanzada contributes reports and columns to the Pakistani media regularly and represented Jang and Geo TV, the largest media house in Pakistan, as its bureau chief. He also founded a weekly newspaper Jago Times in English and Urdu. With another degree in Fashion Design, he is also a certified Homeopathic practitioner.
Khanzada is actively involved in community services and has received awards from several organizations. He supports Sindhi culture and organized an exhibition of Sindhi cultural heritage during the inaugural ceremony of the Texas Democratic Party Convention in Dallas in 2014.