LONDON: The Pakistan Society’s inaugural Jinnah Medal was presented at the Pakistan Society’s 66th Annual Dinner to Mr Zia Mohyeddin HI, universally acknowledged and recognized as a true doyen of aesthetic and performing arts in Pakistan.
Founded in 1951 and based in London, The Pakistan Society aims to increase public knowledge in Britain of the arts, history, geography, economic life and institutions of Pakistan. Its patrons are Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi in his message to The Pakistan Society as its Patron said: “As Patron I would like to appreciate the commendable work undertaken by the Pakistan Society and its members. We consider the United Kingdom as a significant development partner of Pakistan. The two countries have historically enjoyed close and cordial relations based on mutual respect and understanding. It is our endeavour to further strengthen the existing excellent bilateral relationships and forge a long-term partnership in diverse fields. I am confident that the Pakistan Society will continue to play its constructive role in bringing the two countries even closer together”.
High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said in his speech: “It is a matter of great satisfaction to see that the Pakistan Society has gained strength and increased its institutional capacity. It has successfully endeavoured to promote and deepen people-to-people contacts, through showcasing Pakistan’s rich art, culture and literary heritage to British Society. I believe it is time that we broaden our scope to include all diverse fields of mutual benefit to both countries, where there is potential and the need to build on strong people to people contacts and linkages.”
Sir Nicholas Barrington as the Guest of Honour said: “In some ways the current world is in a sad mess, from which Britain and Pakistan cannot escape. What hope is there for the future? There is an affinity between our peoples and we need even closer links.”
The Chairman of the Pakistan Society, Sir William Blackburne said: “This year’s dinner occurs at a time of great challenge for both Pakistan and the United Kingdom. It is a tribute to both Pakistan and the United Kingdom that, despite all the uncertainties, our relationship remains one of mutual co-operation based on deep and firm foundations. One of the constants in this ever-changing kaleidoscope is the Pakistan Society, now in the 68th year of its existence.
The recipient of The Pakistan Society’s Jinnah Medal, Zia Mohyeddin received his training in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and went on to an international career that has spanned almost 70 years.
He has achieved wide critical acclaim in a great number of successful stage, film and television appearances across four continents. Prominent amongst these was his memorable role as Dr Aziz in the production of A Passage to India that was staged both in London’s West-End and on Broadway in New York. Other notable appearances were as the anti-hero Shylock in Shakespeare‘s The Merchant of Venice and as Mosca in Volpone. His international film credits include Lawrence of Arabia, Khartoum and more recently, Homer’s Odyssey.
In 2005 he inaugurated in Pakistan the National Academy of Performing Arts assuming the role of its first President and CEO positions that he still holds to date.