May 2016

What a great month to be British and Pakistani!  Congratulations to Sadiq Khan, London's new mayor!
At this landmark moment in world history, British Pakistan Foundation is honoured and excited to be a part of Sadiq's leadership to build a stronger and brighter London together.

Sadiq Khan, Europe's most powerful Muslim politician, is an inspiration to the community, all Britons and the world at large, and a success story that motivates us all. Khan is also BPF's illustrious British Pakistani of the month! 


The world of science celebrated two Pakistani women this month too, and have made us extremely proud. Dr Sara Saeed, is the winner of this year’s HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize. Sara, co-founder of doctHERs, has created a digital platform which connects impoverished communities in Pakistan to high-quality healthcare while reintegrating qualified female doctors into the workforce. Congratulations go to British Pakistani, Nadia Bukhari, too, who became the youngest Asian female to be awarded the status of Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for her distinction in the field. We are proud of both of their outstanding achievements!

In another momentous occasion, Pakistani film 'Jago Hua Savera', filmed in 1958, made it's way to Cannes Film Festival this month for screening in Cannes Classics section . It was the first Pakistani film to be selected to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1960. You can read more about it in our News section.

May and June have been exciting months in the world of BPF, South Asian art, fashion and culture. From the stunning Fashion Parade, hosted by Mustang Productions, to London's Pakistan Fashion Week, Pakistani culture has been celebrated all over London this month.  Amidst the frenzy, British Pakistan Foundation hosted two stunning events for our members at Tate Britain and Amishi, Mayfair. Photographs are available on our Facebook page.  (Don't forget to Like our page and show your support and love!) Also in May, BPF sponsored this year's annual Alchemy Festival at Southbank, celebrating the stunning and historic mix of South Asian arts in Britain. The BPF team was out in full force with volunteers and helpers at the Royal Festival Hall to show their support.

This month, BPF also caught up with star Alchemy performer and violist, Sarah Sarhandi. The half-Pakistani, half-English beauty performed a eclectic and mesmerizing piece fusing music, dance and film together with a multicultural ensemble of  performers from across the globe. 

BPF is always on the lookout to showcase the achievements transpiring in our community from our talented community members. If you know someone who has made an outstanding and exceptional contribution to society through sports, arts, business, music, philanthrophy, science (any field!) please send a short write-up to Sana at We will be hosting a very exciting event in the next few months to showcase the talent and highlight the excellent contributions of our community with senior leaders of Britain. 

Most excitingly, BPF gained a new team member this month, and we hope you will join us in welcoming our new CEO, Zahra Shah. In her own words, "I am really happy and excited to be part of the BPF Team and look forward to making a positive contribution to the British Pakistan community! Towards this end, I would welcome feedback from members of the British Pakistan community." Zahra has over a decade of experience as a Management Consultant  at Accenture.

Finally, as you may have recently noticed, our website is undergoing reconstruction. During this time, we'll make sure you receive all event updates and important information via our newsletter.


British Pakistan Foundation wishes all Muslims around the world a very happy and blessed Ramadan. May this this be a month of blessings for you and your loved ones. 

All the best,
The BPF team




Catwalk for a Cause at Amishi, Mayfair
1 June 2016 | 45 Maddox Street, W1

BPF hosted a night of glamour and fashion in Mayfair with Amishi in early June. The evening showcased a dazzling catwalk featuring Amishi's exclusive jewellery designs, and a talk from the designer herself and BPF Ambassador, Yasmin Karimi. Amishi has also partnered with BPF's Young Professionals Program to offer internships for students studying Fashion. For details on how to apply, please email


A private viewing of Anwar Shemza
3 June 2016 | Tate Britain

BPF partnered with Tate Britain this month to offer a private viewing and guided tour of the fabulous Anwar Shemza exhibition. The tour, provided by Amrita Jhaveri, was both an interesting and insightful look into the celebrated artist's life and work through the years. Our fabulous friends at Funoon attended the event and you can read more about the event and artist here


Imran Qureshi at Barbican
Until 10 July 2016 | Tate Britain

Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi’s new exhibition, Where the Shadows are so Deep is an absolute must-see. Set within an eerily lit Curve – the Barbican’s winding concrete gallery – the 35-piece exhibition is both enthralling and disturbing, its arrangement designed to unsettle and disorient the viewer. Showing until 10th July.

See details


5th Annual Pakistan Charity Support Fundraiser
16 July 2016 | London Polo Club

The London Polo Club are delighted to confirm the 5th Annual Pakistan Charity Support Trust Fundraiser Polo Challenge on Saturday, 16 July 2016, which will once again feature India versus Pakistan in a 14-goal, four-chukka international polo match.

See details

Pre-Eid Shopping with 15% at Amanda Wakeley
30 June 2016 | 18 Albemarle Street, W1

Amanda Wakeley exclusively invites ladies from our Women's Network to their flagship store to indulge in some discounted designer pre-Eid shopping on 20th June from 2pm-5pm. For non-fasters, the wonderful team are offering afternoon tea and a 15% introductory discount as well as other produces which will be on sale. To attend, please email us at


Congratulations to London's mayor! Sadiq Khan joins a significant list of British-Pakistanis in parliament, including Rehman Chishti, Imran, Hussain, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood, Yasmin Qureshi, Naseem Shah and Tehmina Sheikh. You can read more about them here

What leaving the EU really means for the community. Voting in the EU referendum this month is extremely important for the community.  Sadiq Khan weighs in on the debate here.  According to the London mayor, leaving the EU would be a "betrayal of British values and send a message to the world that the country wants to stand alone". Register to vote here before 23 June.

British Pakistani lawyer launches party for immigrants in the UK. Well-known British Pakistani immigration lawyer and community campaigner, Dr Akbar Malik, has said that Britain's 16 million-strong immigrant community needs to unite for the protection of its right in the face of harsh new laws targeting immigrant communities. Read more here

Bringing Affirmative Action to the UK. The British government has launched a controversial effort to push businesses into becoming more diverse by encouraging them to delve deeper into the backgrounds of their employees and job applicants.The effort strikes at the heart of the British class system and the feeling among many that only those from privileged backgrounds can get ahead. Figures show that an overwhelming number of the top positions in many professions are held by the graduates of elite schools and universities. Read more here. If you wish to enrol in BPF Young Professionals Program, which helps graduates from ethnic backgrounds build career opportunities and secure internships in their desired industry, email us at

Pakistani film from '50s goes to Cannes 
'Jago Hua Savera' met with worldwide critical acclaim this month at Cannes Film Festival. It was even pre-selected for the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1960 and the actors were turned into stars overnight. Find out more here.

'I want to fight for Pakistan': Amir Khan, proud British fighter and welcomes the opportunity to fight for Pakistan. British boxer Amir Khan has hailed the decision to allow professional boxers at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, saying he would love to represent the country of his parents' birth, Pakistan. Read more here.

Congratulations to Dr Sara Saeed!
Sara co-founded doctHERS, an initiative which connects impoverished communities to high-quality healthcare while re-integrating qualified female doctors into the workforce.

Giving this Ramadan. This month, BPF has chosen Aman Foundation as our selected and approved charity to donate to. AMANAMBULANCE, Pakistan’s first state-of the-art ambulatory network was set up and continues to run on international protocols, comprising 80 ambulances with doctors, advanced paramedics and life-saving drugs and equipment on board providing 24/7 emergency medical interventions with an average response time of 8 minutes. To further bolster emergency healthcare for Karachi’s huge population, Aman partnered with the Edhi Foundation’s ambulatory network on a needs basis. 
Here is a short video on the Aman Ambulance Service
Please donate using the Just Giving link below. Moreover, as a UK taxpayer your personal donation qualifies Aman UK to receive Gift Aid of an additional 25% from HMRC.

We're Hiring!
We are currently accepting applications for an energetic and experienced Project Coordinator. Ideal candidates will have experience in project coordination, have a creative outlook and be willing to travel. Email CVs to Sana at


"My dad would make the Beatles sound like a raag"

BPF caught up with half-English, half-Pakistani violist, Sarah Sarhandi during Alchemy Festival at Southbank last month. Her work has been described as an "individual story, that of a person with joint British and Pakistani heritage and the experiences, stories, imaginings and impressions ... At times the worlds she inhabits meet seamlessly, at other times conflict - a dance between polarities, artists, masculine and feminine, dream and reality, light and dark, countries and cultures - a new and exhilarating energy" We couldn't wait to get to know her a little more..
Congratulations!  You just finished a phenomenal performance, Both Universe, at the Alchemy Festival at South Bank, which was very well-received.  How are you feeling?
I feel great. I felt really great about the show and the music really came together. Everybody that collaborated with me was so talented and brilliant. That made the whole thing worth it, and cohesive. Aamir Zaki, one of the artists from Karachi I’m collaborating worked with, was sadly not there, so it was a story of absence and presence at the same time, and that itself is part of being Pakistani.

The concept behind Both Universe is the meeting of two identities – and specifically within you.. 
Well it is my story. It starts with my perception. It is my experience and an experience a lot of us have. And not just Pakistani people – the poet was a New Yorker, the dancers were Malayasian-Spanish and Turkish-English – so people from everywhere. It wasn’t deliberate but I think everyone has immigrant blood of some kind or another, but they were obviously chosen for their empathy and their professional abilities and their artistry.

How did your journey to music, and the viola, begin?
Well I just fell in love with music when I was extremely young. My mum was very keen on classical music and my father sang just to himself. He obviously had a very different ambience – not a western one –and anything he sang sounded really eastern. He basically made the Beatles sound like a raag!  Those are my earliest memories entwined with passion for music. So I was just desperate to play.  It was piano first and then the viola because my mum thought I was too skinny for a cello and the viola was less squeaky than a violin! I had never heard of it but I fell in love with the sound.
What were the musical influences around you growing up?
It was mostly my parents and radio and whatever I heard. It was always music that lit my fire as a little girl. I wanted to dance but father was against that. Even singing was not quite permitted. But somehow I managed to get through it and bypass his crackdowns. Somehow on the barometer the little viola player managed to escape! I think he realised that this was something special and well-respected, whereas dancing wasn’t in his mind at all okay. But I would still jump around the sitting and put symphonies on like Brahms. I still gravitate towards it.
Coming from a background of two identities, were you met with any challenges whilst choosing the path of music?
Music was fine with my dad but as I became a teenager there were very distinct problems in what his expectations were of how I was to move forward in life. It was extremely difficult. And I think through that somehow it was the music I held onto. I never let go of it and just followed it. He was very split whether he supported it, or he didn’t. I entered competitions and won them a lot and he was very proud of that. He just didn’t have a model for what I should be. My mother supported me to do music, but in fact it seemed my father loved the music  and the sound more than she did. When I would be playing as a child in some competition I would be playing for my dad. He’d be in my mind.
What advice would give young aspiring musicians within our community – especially girls – who wish to pursue a career in music?
I think if you really, really love something and want to do it, you should absorb yourself in it. I would hope your family comes along with you and sees the value of what you do. I think that the more support that can be given in the arts within the British Pakistani community the better; it seem to be a neglected area. I mean if I can be an inspiration to the young the people then I would be proud to do so. Being an artist is a calling, and if you have it it’s very detrimental not to follow it. My mother actually sang classical Persian and Urdu, but then again she came from a very different background. There needs to be more support and more examples and connection with the arts from within the community. But I’d say to anyone young and wanting to pursue the arts, keep doing what you most love. And when your family sees what it means to you, I would hope they’d be proud of you.
You’ve worked with some great artists, including Bjork, Damien Hirst, Ivor Guest and collaborating with different mediums like dance, film, and singing. What is your inspiration behind it all?
i think it's just been part of my journey. I've met various artists and we've connected. I’ve wanted to incorporate them into my music and with Bjork – she loved a few my songs I’d recorded and I asked her if she’d sing a song if I wrote one for her. And she did.There’s been people I’ve come across naturally in my journey. I believe artists who believe in each other find each other. I enjoy my own creative process. It’s never finished, but collaboration is also something that helps me grow as an artist. I think I’m drawn to things that are reflective of what’s going on in my life, and what I need to connect with. It’s sort of intertwined with my own life, where I’m going, what I’m doing. In the last five years I’ve really been connecting with Pakistan – so I’ve been going there, I started collaborating with guitarist, Aamir  Zaki. It just sat with my own journey,  and the music comes from it. I can’t separate music from my life and vice versa. I live in music – it is sort of my first consciousness. Where I am in myself, in my life, I just draw people that reflects that.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
Just immediately next I’m playing at the Bradford Literature Gestival. It’s actually a pilot for a bigger production. Aamir and I are going to release some music, maybe an album or EP, online global release, and maybe I’ll release a collaboration with Bjork. I don’t really know. Maybe a holiday!
Sarah would like to thank British Pakistan Foundation, Arts Council, Geraldine Connor Foundation, ZVM Rangoonwala Foundation and Habib Bank for their support.


Work with us!

We're Hiring!
We are currently accepting applications for an energetic and experienced Project Coordinator. Ideal candidates will have experience in project coordination, event planning, enjoy working with a diverse team and willing to travel. Please send your CV to Sana at

If you are an business-owner, entrepreneur or city professional who would like to offer mentoring or internships to our top Young Professionals Program students in Higher Education (currently from Imperial College, King's College London, University College London and London School of Economics), please email Mariam at
The material on this website is for general education and information.   British Pakistan Foundattion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit, community-building organization.  Our mission is “to provide a platform for community building, and to act as a liaison between the British Pakistani community and governmental and non-governmental organisations in the UK and Pakistan. At BPF, we work hard to create a space to enhance inter-community relations and to deliver value to our members through capacity building and information-sharing.
.  In pursuit of this end we shall examine a wide range of issues: economic, political, social, cultural, religious and philosophic.”  The views provided here are thus not the views of the organization, nor should they be construed to imply that British Pakistan Foundation supports or opposes any specific public policy, legislation, or political candidate.  Any reference on this website to any specific commercial product, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the organization or its employees or agents.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at the BPF website or are a member of the BPF community
Our mailing address is:
The British Pakistan Foundation
102-105 Whitechapel High Street
E1 7RA

Landline: +44 (0) 2038020137