Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi has been invited by British House of Commons (Lower House of Parliament) for a speech. Here is the report of English Daily The News regarding this event.
Pakistan tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi on Tuesday made an emotional speech for peace and harmony at the British Parliament in London.
The subject of Aisam’s speech was global peace and the initiatives undertaken by him through his non-profit Stop War Start Tennis Foundation. The event was hosted by John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons. Bercow has long been an admirer of Aisam’s tennis and his efforts to use sport as a vehicle to promote peace and harmony.
Bercow, in his address during the event, lauded Aisam’s efforts for peace and the image he portrays. “He [Aisam] is an outstanding ambassador and role model for young people and for sporting competitors everywhere… His grace, modesty and eloquence are immediately obvious to anyone who meets him”, said the Speaker. The event was hosted at the Parliament building’s Speaker’s Rooms. In attendance were MP’s of the British government, notable UK-based Pakistanis, Aisam’s fellow tennis players and patrons from the International Tennis Federation and Association of Tennis Players.
For several years now, Aisam has been offering his services to charitable causes.
Delivering the main address at this event, Aisam recalled his own experiences in travelling to flood affected and war-torn areas on his charitable missions.
“I have visited cancer hospitals and talked with parents who had tears in their eyes as their sick children are hooked up to tubes and monitors and most certainly going to die. I have travelled to remote regions where village elders praise Allah when you arrive in a cargo helicopter with fresh water and the promise of shelter.
“I am at a loss to understand why bad things have to happen to good people.
“I don’t know why that bomb had to fall on young Zainab Khadim Alwan’s house killing members of her family and blowing both her legs off. I don’t know why Upali Rajakaruna, a soldier in the Sri Lanka army, had his left leg shredded off when he was hit by shrapnel from mortar, or how Yi Sarun survived the atrocities of the Killing Fields in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge genocide. Those are horrors that I cannot even begin to imagine.”
Since creating the Stop War Start Tennis Foundation, Aisam has taken on a project to deliver sport-specific equipment to areas affected by war. So far, he has delivered tennis racquets and tennis wheelchairs to amputees in Cambodia and in Myanmar, and stated plans to do the same in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Speaking about the impact of the efforts made by Stop War Start Tennis, Aisam said, “One thing that I do know is that tennis has helped… them and others around the world like them to heal, to regain their pride and dignity”.
Aisam stressed the need for greater efforts to help those in need, and highlighted the many ways in which sport can act as an agent of change for the betterment of a multitude of people across the globe.
In an impassioned address, Aisam gave an analogy on the concept of overcoming discrimination and separation of cultures and national identities, “bridges and walls are made from the same material – concrete and bricks. Which of the two will we choose to build with is up to us? I, Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi, choose to build bridges. Brick by Brick. I would ask that you join me, so we can build a better world together”.
Rashid Nazir Ali