Bradford University defends former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan after students demand he steps down as chancellor as he fails to attend a graduation since 2010


Students are being urged to back former international cricket star turned Pakistan opposition leader Imran Khan who is facing a vote of no confidence in his role as a university chancellor amid claims he has failed to turn up to a graduation ceremony since 2010.

Bradford University's student union will vote on a motion next month calling for Mr Khan to step down. The all-rounder was appointed to the unpaid role in 2005. His formal duties - along with promoting the university internationally - include conferring students with their degrees at two annual congregations over five days.

Law student Mohsin Tanveer, who has tabled the motion calling for a new figurehead, said graduates felt neglected and Mr Khan should choose between his political career and his position at the university.

“He has continuously missed graduation ceremonies which is his utmost duty as chancellor,” he said.

“Nobody is against him. Students are unhappy with him not fulfilling his duties, its best for both parties that he stand down,” he added, denying the move was politically motivated.

But Bradford vice-chancellor Professor Brian Cantor has issued an impassioned appeal on behalf of Mr Khan.

“Our chancellor has a major political role in Pakistan, a country which has serious problems with terrorism, education and poverty. While I understand that it is frustrating for students that Imran has not attended an award ceremony at Bradford for some time, I have urged students to be sympathetic to the situation in Pakistan and the responsibility Imran has to improving the state of the country.

“I have appealed to the better nature of our student body to be more supportive of the work Imran has to carry out as a politician,” he said.

Professor Cantor said students should consider whether they would be as “courageous and committed” as their chancellor to improving the lives of others in a country plagued by violence. Mr Khan has alleged that opponents plotted to assassinate him during an election rally in Punjab last year.

The politician is the fifth chancellor of Bradford University. His predecessors include Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who conferred 21,000 degrees during his 19 years in the post from its founding in 1966 and was said to rarely miss a ceremony.

Former ICI chairman Sir John Harvey Jones was chancellor between 1985-1991 whilst Mr Khan succeeded equal rights campaigner Baroness Lockwood.

The Pakistani cricket legend spends much of his time at his hilltop hacienda just outside Islamabad following the break-up of his marriage to Jemima Khan in 2004. He founded Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Justice Movement) in 1996 after retiring from the game and has since campaigned against corruption in his home country.

With a global reputation as a top sportsman and international humanitarian his appointment was regarded as a coup for the West Yorkshire university helping raise the profile of the institution particularly among the city's large Pakistani community.

Mr Khan has recently been accused of appeasing Taliban militants after urging political and military leaders against intervention in Waziristan - where a seven-year long conflict has cost tens of thousands of Pakistani lives - and urging them to seek peace through a lasting agreement.

He suffered spinal injuries during an election rally in 2013 when a crane carrying him collapsed in front of a large crowd of supporters.

Although medieval in origin the role of university chancellor has become increasingly complex. According to Universities UK: “The high profile of many Chancellors in their 'day jobs' means that they can open doors for their institution, as  well as draw on their own experience to offer advice on the increasingly complex business of running a university. They are captains of industry, media commentators, politicians and leading figures from science and the arts.”

College stars: Celebrity chancellors

Brian May

The Queen guitarist served as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University for five years. The anti-badger cull campaigner – who completed a PhD in astrophysics four decades after dropping out of university to be a rock star – was replaced by Lord Leveson in 2013.

Sir Trevor McDonald

ITN’s first black newsreader was appopinted chancellor of London South Bank University in 1999. He handed over to “Dragon’s Den” star Richard Farleigh last year.

Floella Benjamin

The former “Playschool” presenter has been chancellor of Exeter University since 2006. As well as a successful acting career she led a 20 year campaign to appoint a Minister for Children and was elevated to the peerage in 2010.

Sir Michael Parkinson

In his inaugural speech after becoming the first chancellor of Nottingham Trent University in 2008, he said of his own truncated formal education: “I didn’t so much leave Barnsley Grammar School as flee the premises.”

Professor Sir Patrick Stewart

Better known to millions of “Star Trek” fans as Jean-Luc Picard, the Yorkshireman moved back to the UK from Los Angeles in 2004 and has taught acting master classes at the University of Huddersfield where he is chancellor and a professor of performing arts.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power