Joint 60th Day Independence Celebration
History was made on 16th August 2007, in London, when for the first time ever, anywhere in the world, two arch rivals, Pakistanis and Indians, celebrated jointly, the Independence Days of their countries, 60 years after they gained their independence from Britain in 1947. Their independence was marred by the bloodshed and upheaval, never seen in the history of mankind. Since their independence they fought many bloody wars and remained at loggerheads. But, it all changed when over 500 British citizens, of Indian and Pakistani descent got together for the first time in perfect peace and harmony. The Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum was set up in 2006 to bring these two communities together who have not enjoyed peace ever since they came into being. The initiative is to improve British Community Cohesion here large numbers of people from India and Pakistan are now settled. Their mutual differences can affect the society as a whole. Sir Gulam Noon, one of the Patrons, whose own vision is to see people living in Britain as British citizens, rather than getting involved in the politics of the sub-continent, welcomed the guests and wished the Executive Committee continued success in their endeavour.General Secretary, Dr Ashraf Chohan, who is originally from Pakistan, expressed his happiness in seeing so many Pakistanis and Indians joining for the first time as brothers, as they once were. He was hopeful that with people to people contact, old suspicions and apprehensions against one another would disappear. Friendship amongst people was “the way forward”. Dr Ashraf Chohan also highlighted the contribution we are making to the British economy and once we are working together we can make an even greater contribution to Britain. The Chairman, Dr Rami Ranger MBE, said that this event proved that there are people of goodwill on both sides, who wished to see our people come together for the greater good of mankind. He further said that we are no longer living in 1947 and we are now living in 2007 and that the world had changed along with our aspirations. We had to change our attitude if we wanted to change the results. Our next generation must not carry our baggage. 60 years was a long time to learn from our past if we were to give a better world to our next generation. This celebration marks a watershed in our relationship we must now talk about love, peace and harmony. The Rt Hon. Keith Vaz MP, who has worked tirelessly to promote Asians in Britain, gave his full support and pledged to support the Forum wherever he could. Mr Stephen Pound MP, expressed his delight at seeing communities come together for the greater good of society as a whole. He acknowledged the contribution that Asians make in enriching British culture and business life. Lord Rana warned of the consequences of religious disharmony as he had first hand experience, having lived through the Indian partition, and also the sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland. Lord Nazir Ahmed praised the work done by the Forum and pledged his support in promoting community cohesion in Britain by helping two bring these two communities together. Mrs Sayeeda Warsi, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion, stressed the need for putting Britain first and working for its success. Lord Sheikh, who lived in Uganda, praised the way people of Indian and Pakistani origins, lived in perfect harmony and he would like to see that we all work as one happy family. A Vote of Thanks was given by barrister Zahoor Butt, Vice Chairman of the Forum.
Please click the links below for News Coverage of the event
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T0hS6xvgbE - Chairman Of Pakistan India UK Friendship Forum, Dr Rami Ranger, Speaking on CNN
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DkuJtpGvK94 - Coverage of the event,
Standing for the National Anthems of Pakistan, India & UK, played together for the first time ever.
Beginning of the Celebrations with the girls of the Impact Dancers
Executive Committee Members of the Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum
Guests listening to the speeches and BBC cameramen in the background
Sir Gulam Noon, Patron, welcoming & giving his congratulations for the historic event
Dr Ashraf Chohan, General Secretary of the Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum, giving his welcoming speech
Dr Rami Ranger, Chairman of Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum, addressing the guests
Mr Samir Bhatia, Managing Director, Barclays Bank Plc India & Indian Ocean, presenting Diversity Award to Mr J.S. Sachar, Editor of Asian Who’s Who
Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz, MP, Chairman Home Office Select Committee, presenting the Diversity Award to the most senior Asian Police Officer, Mr Tarique Ghaffur CBE
Lord Nazir Ahmed presenting Diversity Award to Mrs Kamel Hothi, Asian Markets Director, Lloyds TSB
Cllr Kamal Butt, receiving Diversity Award from Mr Stephen Pound MP
Mr Muzafar Chowdry, Chairman of Pakistan UK Chamber of Commerce & Industry, receiving Diversity Award from Baroness SandeepVerma
Mr Sayeeda Warsi, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion, addressing the guests
Barrister Zahoor Butt, Vice Chairman of Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum, giving Vote of Thanks
Mr Arif Chaudhry, the Founder of the Pak-India Friendship Society, garlanded by Lord Sheikh
Please click on an image below to enlarge.