Creation of Pakistan a ‘milestone’: British MP Saqib Javid

'March 23 remind us of celebration of the march towards independence'

Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Britain’s Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid expressed his pride at the creation of Pakistan during a conference held in London.

Javid, while delivering his keynote address at the third annual Leaders of Tomorrow Congress, said Pakistan's creations is a matter of pride to Pakistanis across the world, including 1.2 million British Pakistanis who take strong pride in their heritage.

The conference, organised by the World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP), was attended by a large number of Pakistani youth and professionals. 

The Conservative Party parliamentarian said that March 23 reminds Pakistanis of the “celebration of march towards independence." 

"This milestone means a lot to our families and friends, it means a lot to Pakistani Diaspora across the world including British Pakistanis who form one of the largest communities outside of Pakistan”.

Javid expressed his pride at speaking as the British Pakistani Secretary of State. 

"British Pakistanis have done an excellent job in areas of public services, private sector and transforming lives," he said, adding that he was proud of being the son of a bus driver. "I feel proud when I see fellow British Pakistanis in the British parliament.

Javid is son of a migrant, Muslim, Pakistani bus driver from a state-educated school background. His father immigrated to Britain in 1961 with just £1 in his pocket and settled in Rochdale, where Javid, one of five brothers, was born.

Speaking about the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper that pledged £50m to boost integration in Britain, Javid said his mother’s decision to learn the English language 15 years after arriving in the country “transformed her life and the life of the entire family”. 

The British MP said learning English enabled his mother to work for the family clothing business, build a new network of friends and – years later – meant she could speak freely with his wife, Laura, and her grandchildren.

Javid stressed that empowering and educating women could make a big difference in the lives of the entire family. The communities and local government secretary promised to expand the teaching of English for immigrants as he warned that up to 70% of those unable to speak the language were women, and most of them were from Pakistani or Bangladeshi communities. 

He said that 770,000 people living in England speak no English or hardly any English. Syed Ibne Abbas, the High Commissioner of Pakistan, paid rich tribute to the hardworking and inspirational British Pakistanis who are making “Pakistan proud”. He said it is essential recognising the success stories to continue with the tradition of excellence.

Co-Chairman of Conservative Friends of Pakistan and Chairman of WCOP Syed Qamar Raza paid resounding tribute to high achiever British Pakistanis.

“We have doctors from NHS, policemen and women from the Met and City of London Police, professionals from the Home Office, solicitors and barristers from the top firms and institutions, teachers, academics, fashion designers and artists, students, sportspersons, homemakers, influencers, leaders, mentors, authors, community builders and young leaders. We all are indebted to you. We are so proud of you of what you are doing and accomplishing for the United Kingdom.” Raza appreciated Javid's initiative and expressed the full support of the community.

“Our Secretary of State for Communities clearly understands the vital need of social integration, social cohesion and promotion of British values, on helping people learn English, encouraging more women to find work and promoting “meaningful discussion” between young people. I am happy to announce our full support of this initiative and let me also share that we are already taking lead on all these above-mentioned items.”

WCOP’s co-founder and Executive Director Arif Anis Malik shared the background of the annual congress and emphasized on the importance of having positive role models. He further said that WCOP would continue to recognize and acknowledge the high achievers and champions of excellence from diverse walks of life.