Jersey City: When a close friend of the Khan family got a job working for a New Jersey politician, Shafqat Khan used to go to his office every day in search of people in need.
It was common for them, long-time Jersey residents, to be grateful that they and their families managed to emigrate from Pakistan to the United States via Libya in the 1980s.
His family members say Shafqat Khan has sought ways to help most other Pakistani immigrants over the past two decades who have joined him across the Hudson River in New York City.
Shafqat Khan, who organized events for people of different religions and cultures to better understand each other after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He explained the procedure for obtaining a driver's license to recent immigrants who died of the coronavirus on April 14 at the age of 76.
His mourners include a wife, 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and many others who were in contact with him.
His daughter Sabila Khan said, "He had a good idea of right and wrong and if he saw someone in trouble, he would help him in any way he could."
"That's why I'm starting a social media group for those who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus so they can connect with each other," she said.
"I want to preserve my father's legacy in any way I can," she said.
Asked in tears, she said, "I want to mourn his passing in a way that builds society. I think my father will be proud of me."
Shafqat Khan and his wife wanted to move to the United States from Pakistan for a better life, but they had some relatives in Libya, so they moved there in 1974, where they took a management job at a pharmaceutical company.
They spent a few years there, during which their youngest daughter, Sabila Khan, was born at their home, after which the five-member family came to the United States in 1982 and settled in Jersey.
Shafqat Khan enrolled in a computer course that would have given him a job and the family legal American residency.
However, he could not find a job which made it difficult for him and he stayed in the country illegally for many years.
Sabila Khan said, "It was very difficult. They kept us safe from the trouble our parents were in."
We didn't have health insurance, money was always an issue, they struggled a lot.
He said his father believed that the best opportunities for his children were in the United States and not in Libya or Pakistan.
He later got a job as general manager at a pharmacy in Brooklyn that he owned
Shafqat Khan had tutored them in Pakistan for many years.
The job gave him sponsorship for a legal US residency, and he became a US citizen a decade later.
Shafqat Khan's daughter said she worked six days a week and went in the morning and returned at night, but despite her busy schedule, she was part of the Pakistani community in Jersey.
He said that before the 9/11 attacks, he had formed a group called Pakistanis for America, which aimed to educate Pakistani immigrants about US politics and help them register to vote.
However, after the attack, the group changed its mind and held a number of events to discuss the plight of Muslims of mixed religions and cultures.