A gala dinner was arranged by the Lal Qila Group in Manchester on 5 June to celebrate the award of Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam to Sajjad Karim, Member of the European Parliament and Sitara-i-Imtiaz to Amir Khan, World Champion boxer.
The ceremony was conducted by Dr Parwaz, Aasiya Suman and Maria Khan, and was attended by many leading figures including Andrew Stephenson MP, Amjad Bashir MEP, Naz Khan MP, Mayor of Pendle Nawaz Ahmed, Mayor of Oldham Attique Ur Rehman and Lord Mayor of Manchester Paul Murphy OBE.
The Consul Generals of China and Iraq also attended.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK, Syed Ibne Abbass, led the gala celebrations along with Consul General Zahoor Ahmed, Sajid Qazi and Amir Thathim of the Manchester Consulate. The High Commissioner stated:
“Sajjad Karim and Amir Khan are role models for British Pakistanis and are the pride of Pakistan.”
Sajjad Karim was the first British muslim elected to the European Parliament in 2004 aged 33. In 2005 he established the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan Group which ultimately played a crucial role in delivering the GSP plus trade access to the EU for Pakistan. Sajjad sits on the powerful anti-corruption Parliamentary Conduct Committee and ran for election as European Parliament President in 2014.
Amir Khan is a former two time world champion, having won the WBA, WBA (Super) and IBF Light Welterweight titles and is the youngest British Olympic boxing medalist, winning silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, at the age of 17. He is also one of the youngest British world champions ever, winning the WBA Light Welterweight title at age 22.
Musarat Chaudhry of the Lal Qila Group hosting the event said:
“As a businessman I feel privileged to recognise the achievements of these two British Pakistani sons of England. They are our pride and an example for our coming generations.”
Dr Tariq Chohan, a joint organiser, also commented:
“The contributions made by Sajjad and Amir are worthy of recognition. Sajjad holds the title Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam which has been conferred on Queen Elizabeth II and Nelson Mandela, so it is a real pride for us all that one of our own community members has been recognised in this way.”
High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbass presented Sajjad Karim with a portrait of the President of Pakistan conferring the Award at the ceremony which was conducted in Pakistan on 23 March this year.
Speaking at the event Amir Khan stated:
“I am a British Pakistani and we are proud of our heritage. I want to do all I can to strengthen relations between the UK and Pakistan.”
Sajjad Karim said he accepted the Award of Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam on behalf of all overseas Pakistanis, saying:
“I wish to recognise the pivotal role played by Prime Minister David Cameron in delivering EU GSP plus for Pakistan, along with many others that played their part.”
Mohammed Anwar of the Circle of Literary Friends told guests:
“Sajjad Karim is known to our literary organisation since the age of 7 when he first started leafletting the streets of Brierfield Lancashire for the Conservative party.
“I wish to pay tribute to High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas who has already proven himself to be a first rate diplomat and thank him for gracing this occasion by representing Pakistan here this evening.”