March 13 , 2017
Pakistani Christian educationist selected for ‘Freedom’ honour
LONDON/RUGBY: British Pakistani educationist and former Mayor of Rugby Councillor Dr James Shera has been selected for conferment of the honour of “Freedom of the Borough of Rugby”.
Dr James Shera, a prominent member of the British Pakistani Christian community, is recipient of Sitara-e-Pakistan, member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), and recipient of Formanite Award.
The honour will be conferred upon Dr Shera in a special ceremony in the last week of April at the Rugby Borough Council. “The honour has been bestowed in recognition of his eminent services to the people of Rugby, championing equality and diversity at national and international level over many years; politically, socially and culturally, and with total commitment” stated the office of Mayor of Rugby in a statement to this correspondent. Dr Shera attributed this honour to his efforts to build bridges between the communities. He said that his foremost objective always remained service of community without any discrimination.
“The biggest honour for me in life is that I was given the Sitara-e-Pakistan. I have always worked in my capacity to highlight positive things about Pakistan. When someone talks good about my community work, I tell them I am a proud Pakistan and these values of doing good and being kind to others is what I bring from my Pakistani culture. Its our duty that we work towards highlighting good things about our motherland and lead through example,” said Dr James Shera.
He told this correspondent that unfortunately lots of misconceptions exist about Pakistan. “Pakistan has faced many problems and lot of what exists about Pakistan is a result of our failed policies but that also means we have to do our job to tell the world that we are not what media tells about us. We are not perfect like others but we are normal people and have the same hopes and aspirations as others.”
The Rugby Council said that the honour of Freeman of the Borough of Rugby is conferred in line with the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act 1885(an Act Parliament of the UK) that gave the councils of municipal boroughs in England and Wales the power to award the title of honorary freeman to “persons of distinction and any person who have rendered eminent services to the borough”.
Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria paid tribute to Dr James Shera. He said it was a matter of great pride for the country as well as the distinguished Pakistani diaspora in the United Kingdom. "Our community has enormous contributions to various segments of Great Britain, including political, social, cultural, economic, philanthropy, medical, engineering, science & technology. Dr James Shera is an accomplished British citizen with Pakistani heritage to have earned many distinctions," he said.
Dr Shera was elected Mayor of Rugby in 1988, the first ever Pakistani to become a Mayor. In recognition of his services, a road has been named in Rugby as ‘James Shera Way. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate of Business and Administration by the University of Bedfordshire in 2010. Dr Shera served as leader of Labour Group since 2005-2014.