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Interview by Rizwan Akram of Pakistan

In 29 minutes, after recounting my life story, I explain that religious, political, and economic freedom are vital for Pakistan's development.


Transmitted 24 June 2020. Posted 18 July 2020.

As I have mentioned before on my page “Why I set up this website” everyone with access to the internet can now publish on the web.

A more recent development that I have become aware of is that with the greater availability of digital video equipment and improved bandwidth, almost everyone can now run their own equivalent of a TV station.

I am used to receiving Facebook friend requests from strangers, which I accept or decline after reviewing their profile. After becoming connected with someone called Rizwan Akram in Pakistan who is a lecturer at TEVTA (Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority) Punjab and also works at Allama Iqbal Open University, I received a Facebook Messenger message from him.

He explained that as part of connecting with people from around the globe, he conducts interviews and asked for 30 minutes of my time so that people in his social circle could “know about my life and success story.”

As well as the 30 minutes for the live interview, I was aware that I would probably spend another hour or so in the process of agreeing a date and time, providing a short biography etc. However, I agreed to give the interview for two reasons:

You can watch the interview below.


The live video was 31 minutes long. In the version below, I have deleted about two minutes worth comprising:

Below the video, I have transcribed his questions.

Recounting the stories about my parents made the early part of the interview quite emotional for me.

The policy discussions begin with question (8) which starts at 13:46. If you wish to skip over my personal story, you can watch the video from that point.

Transcript of the questions

  1. Tell us about your life.
  2. What was your childhood dream job?
  3. Tell us about the stories your parents told you and also let us know about your trips to Pakistan.
  4. As your parents were very poor, how was your father able to come to England in 1931?
  5. Did your family think about returning to Pakistan to settle there?
  6. What was your family’s experience of Partition and World War II?
  7. Did your parents talk about any specific killings that took place during Partition?
  8. What did your father tell you about the development of Pakistan, and how has Pakistan changed since you were young?
  9. What are your views about the relative development of Pakistan and India? Similarly, tell us about the relative success of Indians and Pakistanis in the UK.
  10. My response to the previous question had mentioned the problem of importing spouses from Pakistan. This led to the question “What if the spouses from Pakistan are highly educated?”
  11. What is your children’s perspective about Pakistan?
  12. With regard to religion, do you think the Pakistanis in Pakistan itself or the Pakistani immigrants in Britain are more devout as Muslims? In my response, I mentioned two of the organisations I am involved with, the Islam & Liberty Network and the International Quranic Studies Association.
  13. Should families live together in close clusters as in Pakistan, or not?
  14. Finally, what is your message for Pakistan and how it should achieve effective progress? In my response, I emphasised the importance of religious freedom, and also political and economic freedom.


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