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ABRAR-UL-HAQ: “I was in the process of buying a private jet…”

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BEAMING: Patriotic Abrar-ul-Haq is delighted to see Pakistan’s Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as the back page story of Asian Express

BEAMING: Patriotic Abrar-ul-Haq is delighted to see Pakistan’s Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as the back page story of Asian Express

 

Hailed as one of Pakistan's most-loved pop, bhangra and folk singers, Abrar-ul-Haq says that through his music helping those who don't have access to medical facilities is a top priority to him.

The 48-year-old philanthropist, speaking exclusively to the Asian Express Newspaper is currently putting 200 students through medical college in Pakistan.

Born in Faisalabad and after completing his Masters in Social Sciences, he became a teacher in Lahore. Abrar-ul-Haq shot to stardom in 1995 with his debut single 'Billo De Ghar', which became an overnight success.

Though the song erupted great controversy due to the chants young men were making in the streets using the first line of the song, 'Billo De Ghar', his debut album sold over 16 million copies worldwide.

Over the last two decades Abrar-ul-Haq, the youngest of eight siblings, has become one of Pakistan's top celebrities that is using his hard-earned fame for charitable causes.

"Following the success of my musical career, I earned a lot of money," says Abrar-ul-Haq.
"I'm a fan of fast things and shortly after I was catapulted to fame, I set my heart on buying a private jet."

"At a time when I was in the middle of negotiating the right price for the plane, my mother passed away. That changed everything for me.

ALL SMILES: Asian Express’s CEO Nadim Hanif is a big fan of Abrar-ul-Haq

ALL SMILES: Asian Express’s CEO Nadim Hanif is a big fan of Abrar-ul-Haq

 

"My outlook on life was significantly adjusted.

"It was this period in time that I decided to put my money to better use – to assist those who so desperately need help. I decided instead of buying a jet, I should put this money into a hospital in an area that didn't have one."

With an aggressive patriotic passion to make a positive change to his native country, Abrar-ul-Haq founded the Sahara for Life Trust, a charitable organisation promoting health and education in remote areas.

Sahara for Life Trust, for which Abrar-ul-Haq is Chairman, started its work in Narowal in Pakistan, where it established the first large-scale hospital in 2003.

"At the time Narowal didn't have a hospital, and I requested the government of Punjab to assist me in building the hospital but they refused.

"So, I decided to buy a piece of land myself and transferred the asset to the Trust.

"Following this, I asked people from different walks of life to join the board of governors to give creditability to the institution and proportionate governance to it.

"It took two years to get the hospital built and running. Initially I only used my own funds for this project.

"Then, I realised that people genuinely want to help and that I couldn't do this alone. So, my first fundraiser was in London which raised £100,00 in one night.

"This gave the Trust the boost it needed to make our work sustainable."

The hospital, whose services are free and funded through Zakat (Islamic taxes), has treated some 2.7 million people to date. It provides much-needed medical services for the people of Narowal, also assisting in transporting critical patients to bigger city hospitals for treatment.

In 2016, Sahara for Life Trust opened their medical college in Narowal, which finances students through Medicine.

"When you want to do something extraordinary you need to have a good team with you," says Abrar.
"The Trust and my tireless team is dedicated to empowering young people and bring a change in Pakistan. I enjoy being in a position to influence young people.

"I can't possibly complete building all the hospitals needed in Pakistan on my own in my lifetime. I hope and pray that the younger generation is inspired to carry on humanitarian work."

Abrar-ul-Haq has also created a Youth Parliament – an organisation with a vision to empower young people and ability to understand their importance of their role society. It has over 200,00 people registered to it.

Pakistan now has over 50 Non Government Organisations (NGOs), which have all spiralled on the back of Abrar-ul-Haq 's humanitarian work over the last two decades. Prior to this NGOs were practically non-existent in Pakistan.

By: Andleeb Hanif

Lego appoints new CEO

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 LEGO’S NEWEST BOSS : Bali Padda moved to the UK when he was 12 years old and began working for Lego in 2002

LEGO’S NEWEST BOSS : Bali Padda moved to the UK when he was 12 years old and began working for Lego in 2002

British boss takes over iconic toy brand

The Lego Group has announced that Bali Padda, current Chief Operations Officer, has been appointed CEO of the company. He will start his new role in the New Year.

Bali Padda, who was born in India in 1956, takes over from Jørgen Vig Knudstorp who will head up the new entity Lego Brand Group.

Bali Padda has been with the Lego Group for 14 years and is at present heading up Operations while at the same time being overall responsible for people and organisational development. During the past ten years, he has been a member of the LEGO Group’s top management.

Commenting on the appointment of Bali Padda as CEO, Niels Jacobsen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lego Group, said: “Bali Padda has a fantastic track record in the Lego Group with more than 14 years of experience especially within supply chain functions, but more recently also focusing on people and organisational development.

“Bali has demonstrated an ability to drive the changes required in operations through the significant growth we have experienced during the past years. I am confident that Bali will continue to develop the company in close cooperation with management.”

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the Lego Group, said: “Bali possesses the right mindset. He has a deep knowledge of our entire company, a very clear sense of what we need to do to take the company to the next level, and he is a true ambassador for the Lego Idea and the brand.”

Commenting on his new role as CEO, Bali Padda says: “I am extremely honoured by this opportunity. It is a huge and exciting task, and I look forward to the challenge. I have a strong passion for our product and brand, and I look forward to continuing the strategic direction we have set for the company.

“With the great collaboration in our management as well as the support from Thomas and Jørgen, I am confident that we can continue the success of the Lego Group and reach many more children in the future with high-quality play experiences.”

Community spirit: Local champions blossom at White Rose awards

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COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

A community organisation in Beeston, which raised two truck-loads of aid for Syrian refugees earlier this year, has been commended at a prestigious awards ceremony.

The fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards paid tribute to the Hamara Healthy Living Centre last month in the newest category - the Extra Mile award.

Set up to commend organisations which go out of their way to help others, the Leeds team were selected for their work with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Attendees at the awards last month heard how Hamara, acting as a collection point for food, clothing, toiletries and bedding, received enough donations within a matter of weeks to fill two large garages.

Many of the goods have already been distributed to refugees abroad whilst the remaining collection will be handed out to refugees arriving in Leeds.

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

Hamara CEO, Hanif Malik, was presented with the ‘Extra Mile’ award alongside colleague Habib Khan, and the pair paid tribute to the generosity of the local public.

“We made the appeal for donations after seeing these shocking images of refugees struggling around the world,” Hanif said.

“For the past two years we have worked alongside organisations such as PAFRAS (Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and have heard of the struggles individuals and families can face.”

He continued: “The appeal was a huge success thanks to the generous actions of the local community and we have to thank everyone who has helped, with a special mention for the White Rose Shopping Centre.

“We are now working with organisations to get the aid sent over to those who need it most and hope it can help make a difference to just some refugees.”

As well as being recognised for its collective work, two young Hamara members received a joint award for the tireless work they have done raising money for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Martin House Children’s Hospice.

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

11-year-old, Arooje Khan, and her 10-year-old brother, Adie, volunteer with the Give a Gift team, of which both Habib and Hanif are also ambassadors. Their tireless fundraising efforts earned them ‘Achievement Awards’ last month.

Hanif added: “Arooje and Adie have worked really hard with the Give a Gift team for a long time so it is nice to see them recognised in these awards.

“We have a fantastic team of volunteers who help the project grow every year and we are always on the lookout for new ways to support these two fantastic charities.”

Other commendations at this year’s Community Awards included Chrissy Silvey, from Kippax, who not only gives up her spare time to work as a Dementia Awareness Champion, but also volunteers as a Community First Responder as well as holding down a full-time job.

VW Scandal: Almost 2 million vehicles affected in the UK

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(FILE) Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintekorn

Volkswagen CEO Professor Dr. Winterkorn resigns following emissions scandal

Volkswagen has announced 1,189,906 of its vehicles in the UK are affected by the diesel emissions scandal.

VW has admitted that 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with defeat device software to deceive testers into believing their vehicles met environmental standards.

Once on the road the cars produced nitrogen oxide pollutants at up to 40 times the legal standard.

It includes diesel-powered cars with the VW brand - Audi, Seat and Skoda as well as VW commercial vehicles.

In the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal dubbed 'dieselgate', it’s CEO Professor Dr. Winterkorn has resigned issuing a statement denying any personal wrongdoing.

The UK Are To Re-run Emissions Tests On Volkswagen Cars After German Scandal

Prof. Dr. Winterkorn's move comes after it was admitted that millions of diesel vehicles built by the Volkswagen Group since 2009 have been fitted with the technology and sophisticated software, which switches engines to a cleaner mode when they are being tested.

In a statement Professor Dr. Winterkorn said: “I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.

“As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: "I understand VW are contacting all UK customers affected. I have made clear to the managing director this needs to happen as soon as possible.

"The Government expects VW to set out quickly the next steps it will take to correct the problem and support owners of these vehicles already purchased in the UK."

UK: Cars affected per brand

Volkswagen Passenger Cars - 508,276
Audi - 393,450
SEAT - 76,773
Skoda - 131,569
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles - 79,838