Some of you may have already heard of him, some of you maybe not. Regardless, Sajjad Karim MEP has been fighting for the issues that matter to you for nearly 14 years now.

Born to immigrant parents who emigrated from Pakistan to the UK, Sajjad Karim, is a British Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England.

In 2004 he became the first European and British born Muslim to be elected to this significant institution.

Within the European Parliament, Sajjad acts as the Chairman of the influential South Asia Trade Monitoring Committee, which oversees any trade related matters involved with the region, including Pakistan.

Throughout this period he has championed the vital role played by the EU in developing and facilitating trade between the EU and the wider world.

With Sajjad’s Pakistani heritage, he has taken a leading role in strengthening the bonds between his country of birth, the UK, and his homeland, Pakistan, through his work in the European Parliament and has worked extremely closely with former Prime Minister David Cameron on EU-Pakistan matters, particularly on trade related issues.

In December 2013, the European Parliament voted to approve a concessionary trade status for Pakistan called GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences). Sajjad played a key role in steering the International Trade (INTA) Committee to approve this beneficial trade status. The preferential scheme for Pakistan's exports to EU countries came into force in January 2014.

He has also authored two trade-related reports on EU-India Trade Relations and the EU-India Free Trade Agreement, both of which maintained the need for human rights to be integral in any trade related agreement that the EU has with another country, with particular reference to Indian-Administered Kashmir (IAK).

In 2005 Sajjad founded the European Parliament’s Friends of Pakistan Group - designed to provide a forum to share and discuss issues of common concern and mutual benefit between the EU and Pakistan. It had a significant influence on the INTA decision to grant Pakistan the GSP+ status, which has increased significantly Pakistan’s exports to the EU. The group also played a key role in Pakistan receiving aid and the Autonomous Trade Preferences that allowed a reduction in trade tariffs from the EU following the devastating floods that affected the country in the summer of 2010 and 2011.

The years of hard-work and graft finally paid off In August 2014 when he was awarded the Sitara-i-qaid-i-Azam, Pakistan's highest national honour to non-Pakistanis, for his services to strengthen Pakistan/UK and Pakistan/EU relations. He was presented with the award in March 2015 by President Mamnoon Hussain at a ceremony in Islamabad.

If you’re keen to find out more about Sajjad Karim MEP, you can watch his rise from the son of Pakistani immigrants to the halls of European power by clicks BG on the video. You can also watch on YouTube here:

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