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Pakistani Parade Cancelled in Lodi

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AP, Aug. 7

LODI, Calif. — Organizers of the annual Pakistani Independence Day in Lodi have cancelled the event two months after a Pakistani father and son here were charged with lying to authorities investigating links to terrorist training camps.

A former organizer said people were too busy to prepare for the event, but a former city official speculated that recent developments made the Pakistani community uneasy.

“Because of all the recent scrutiny … they’re probably hesitant to come out in front of (the public eye),” said former Lodi city manager Dixon Flynn, who participated in the sponsorship of past Pakistani celebrations, which featured music, dancing, food and games.

But Nawaz Shah, who helped plan the first Independence Day celebration, said: “It’s not because of political issues. It’s just because everybody’s busy.”

The community has drawn media attention since Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested for allegedly lying to federal agents about possible connections to a terrorist camp in Pakistan, and two former religious leaders were charged with immigration violations.

Federal officials disclosed last week that they secretly tape-recorded Pakistanis in this agricultural community for nearly three years before moving against the four men.

Original article

(Posted on August 8, 2005)

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