Oxford’s Pakistan society reluctant to support Abdus Salam documentary | Pakistan Today

Oxford’s Pakistan society reluctant to support Abdus Salam documentary

–OUPakSoc bails out on first UK screening of ‘Salam – The First ****** Nobel Laureate’

–Organiser says some student societies on campus distanced themselves from Salam’s name due to his faith

–‘Supportive’ Malala Yousafzai to attend the screening despite others’ reluctance

The Oxford University Pakistan Society (OUPakSoc) and other student societies showed reluctance in supporting the first UK screening of a documentary on acclaimed theoretical physicist Dr Abdus Salam at the prestigious varsity, Pakistan Today has learned.

According to a British journalist Sunny Hundal, “Oxford Pakistan society is not supporting” the screening of documentary titled ‘Salam – The First ****** Nobel Laureate’ since Dr Salam “was an Ahmadi”.

When this scribe reached event’s organiser Noman Chaudhry, he said, “OUPakSoc was neither co-hosting this event nor involved in its organisation or support at any point.”

“They knew about its existence for at least two months but never replied to me formally and ignored my request to co-host,” Chaudhry told Pakistan Today.

The screening organiser, however, explained that certain members of OUPakSoc were very supportive in organising the event but only “in their personal capacity”.

Consequently, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who is also the spokesperson of OUPakSoc, will be among those attending the screening of Dr Salam’s documentary which is scheduled on May 12. Malala supported the cause throughout, Chaudhry said.

In a BBC radio interview, Chaudhry had disclosed with “huge disappointment” that he did not get the required support and recognition for the screening from certain student societies on the campus.

He said: “Even today in the year 2018, in the west, at the prestigious University of Oxford, there are still people who want to distance and dissociate themselves from the name of Abdus Salam.

“[Some people] expressed reluctance to actively celebrate Abdus Salam as their own because of his faith.”

Pakistan Today reached several members of OUPakSoc for comment but received no reply.

Omar Vandal and Zakir Thaver, producers of the documentary, had studied science in the same college of America. Their interest in Salam grew through discussions to an extent that they conceived the idea of making a movie on his life, achievements and forgotten legacy.

“The film draws attention to the state of affairs…where knowledge is sacrificed at the altar of ignorance and intolerance, depriving the coming generation of all that is precious,” reads the movie bio.

In 2016, the National Centre for Physics (NCP), an affiliate of Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), was named after Dr Salam, a Pakistani physicist who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory.

However, the executive order went ignored. Earlier this month, National Assembly passed a resolution to rename the Physics department of QAU after Muslim scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rehman Al-Khazini. Initially seen as a bid to drop the name of Pakistani physicist Dr Abdus Salam from NCP, the matter was later clarified by a QAU representative who said the two are separate entities.

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