Prominent British Pakistani businessman Zameer Choudrey this week was included on the honours list of former British prime minister Theresa May, who awarded peerages, knighthoods and other honours to 57 citizens.
Ms May’s honours were granted by the Queen at the request of the outgoing prime minister.
In a statement, Mr Choudrey called the award “an immense honour”. “I am truly humbled to have been appointed to the House of Lords. I have always viewed the UK to be the land of opportunity and I look forward to contributing to the continued advancement of our great country,” Mr Choudrey said.
Mr Choudrey is the CEO of Bestway Group, a wholesale empire with a reported turnover of £3.5 billion and a workforce of 34,000. He is also the chairman of Conservative Friends of Pakistan (CFOP), an organisation seeking to build stronger ties between the UK’s Conservative Party with Pakistan and the British Pakistani community.
The Bestway Group owns Bestway Cement Ltd in Pakistan and also has a controlling share in United Bank Limited (UBL).
In the UK, life peers are appointed under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords.
In 2016, Mr Chaudhry was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), by the Queen as part of the Queen’s New Year 2016 Honours List.
The statement, which describes Mr Choudrey as someone with “humble beginnings in a remote village in Pakistan”, also says that the appointment is a recognition of his contributions to Britain’s domestic and foreign trade as well as his philanthropic work. Mr Choudrey and his family hail from Gujar Khan in Rawalpindi.
The statement also adds, “He has also regularly been asked to facilitate private government visits to both Pakistan and the UK for senior government officials from both countries, including the Mayors of London and the West Midlands, and private investors, to discuss how both the UK and Pakistan can look to increase trade and investment.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019