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February - March 2008
Dinner in Honour of Dr Lord Hameed CBE, DLThe Pakistan India & UK Friendship Forum honour Dr. Lord Khalid Hameed CBE, DL for his elevation to the House of Lords. The special dinner at the Hotel Rembrandt , Knightsbridge, London was attended by 200 guests and dignitaries including former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Baroness Verma, Lord John Taylor of Holbeach CBE, Lord Sheikh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Tarique Ghaffur ,industrialist Mr. George Jatania, president of Sikh Forum Ranjit Singh, editor of the Asian Who’s Who Mr J S Sachar, editor of the Daily Jung Mr. Sahoor Niazi, Mr Muzaffar Chowdry to name a few.
Lord Hameed was presented with a special diversity award for his contribution to inter- faith dialogue and religious tolerance by Lord Goldsmith. Lord Goldsmith praised the work being done by the Friendship Forum in bringing two British communities closer to one another. He also paid tribute to Lord Hameed for his outstanding contribution to the nation.
Lord Hameed was very appreciative of the honour as it was given to him by his own people. He also said that he could not understand when people became angry with their own country for any reason they choose to use bombs to register their protest instead of the ballot box.
Dr. Rami Ranger Chairman of the Forum described it as a unique occasion where people of Indian & Pakistani origin had joined hands in paying tribute to a person for his success. He said, “Normally we do not see eye to eye, let alone get together for a common celebration. It just shows how our attitudes have changed since 16th August 2007 when we celebrated the Independence days of India & Pakistan jointly for the first time ever anywhere in the world. When relations between India and Pakistan cool down, we will also see a slow down in global warming “.
Baroness Verma also paid tribute to Lord Hameed and looked forward to working with him in the House of Lords. Dominic Grieve MP made a point of saying that Lord Hameed was the first appointed Asian Sheriff of Greater London who discharged his duties with the utmost of integrity and dedication. Lord John Taylor of Holbeach said that Lord Hameed’s presence in the Lords would make the House stronger. Muzaffar Chowdry, Chairman of the UK Pakistan Chamber of Commerce said that friendship between the two communities was now irreversible. He was also encouraged to see the way in which relations between India and Pakistan were improving and this was bound to influence our relations in this country.
The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Ahmed Shahzad, the former Mayor of Brent, The National Chairman of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities Society UK and Hononary Investment Councilor Pakistan for London. He thanked the guests and the guests of Honour for making the evening a memorable one. He also thanked the Committee of the Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum for building bridges between two British Communities.
Speech by Dr. Rami Ranger delivered on 5th Dec at the Hotel Rembrandt, Knightsbridge at the dinner hosted in honour of Dr. Lord Khalid Hameed.
My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to this special dinner which is to celebrate the elevation of Lord Hameed to the House of Lords. This is a unique event as for the first time both Indians and Pakistanis have joined hands in such numbers to pay tribute to a person for his success. Normally, we do not see eye to eye, let alone get together for a common celebration.
It just shows how our attitudes have changed since 16th Aug 2007 when we jointly celebrated the Independence days of Pakistan and India for the first time ever any where in the world. It has proved to be a watershed in our relationship which has also laid the foundation for our future co-operation and friendship.
The Pakistan, India & UK Friendship Forum was launched with the help of Parliamentarians in the House of Commons to bring two old adversaries closer to one another for the simple reason that we both now belong to Britain.
Our differences with one another can easily affect the social cohesion of this country where we have now become interdependent.
When we work together for our common goals, we forget about our differences and rise above man made prejudices.
Tonight by celebrating the success of Lord Hameed, we are making a statement that his success is our success.
It does not matter which country he originally came from, what matters is that his work is enriching the lives of everyone in Britain. We have come to salute him for his work and achievements for our nation.
Britain has proved to be an ideal place for us to become friends because it is a democratic and secular country. As a result, we are all equal regardless of our colour or religion.
I am optimistic that our friendship in Britain will spill over to many other countries like USA, Canada and Australia where large numbers of our people now live side by side.
Who knows, the ripple effect may even reach our motherlands. I am sure when relations between India and Pakistan cool down, we will also see a slow down in Global Warming.
I am indebted to you all for taking the time out of your busy lives to support and endorse our initiative. We couldn’t have achieved so much so quickly without your support. Thank you
Next year we plan to take over Trafalgar Square for the joint Independence Day celebrations of India and Pakistan on Sunday 17th August 2008. This will be a peace concert and artists from both countries will perform live to entertain the crowds, which we expect to be over 40, 000 strong.
Finally, It feels good to celebrate the success of Lord Hameed who has not only become a role model but also a source of inspiration to us all. It is rare when some one receives honours not only from the country of his birth but also from his adopted country.
We are also indebted to Lady Hameed for supporting Lord Hameed in his work and allowing him to give so much of his precious time to the nation. Thank you Lady Hameed.