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.

The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo

Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style

ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

year 4/5/6

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a full...

NQT Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...

Year 4 Teacher

£20000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week