Interview: Star Malik

Man on a ‘driven’ mission of peace reaches out to the public

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 26, 2015

DUBAI: A UK-based Pakistani peace envoy completed his second phase of the world tour dedicated to the victims of terrorism in Pakistan, especially the people killed in the Peshawar school terrorist shooting last month.
Shakeel Malik, also known as Star Malik, decided to promote peace and encourage friendly relations between Pakistan and India, by going on a peace journey on 12-12-12 at 12:12:12 to cross three major areas, Europe, Middle East and South Asia (Pakistan & India) by car.JAMIL-StarMalik-PeaceMission-1
The first leg of his journey was to travel to 13 European countries, taking 54 days. During the journey, he crossed France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden and others countries where he met overseas Pakistani and Indians as well as local residents who were inspired by his unique peace initiative.
Completing his 90 days of the second leg of the peace journey, Star Malik reached the UAE on Friday from Oman, crossing over Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.
The Pakistan Association Dubai on Saturday evening organised a reception to celebrate his journey of peace and vowed to extend support towards harmonious and strong bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries.
“During my first and second leg of the journey, I met people from different nationalities with the aim of promoting peace, and emphasising the friendly relations between Pakistan and India. After World War II, European countries are now living in peace and enjoying bilateral relations, while in South Asia, we are yet to create a better relationship with each other,” he said while addressing members of the community.
Responding to a question from The Gulf Today, Malik unfolded the story behind his unusual name “Star Malik”.
“I’m glad to tell you that since my youth, I utilised all my energy towards supporting my family, and now all my brothers and sisters are self-sufficient. To honour this, my mother used to gift me stars on my birthday for years, and people started calling me Star. Prior to initiating this peace and friendship journey, I was thinking about a logo to promote this and embraced the name,” he said.
He pointed out that expatriates from both countries are live in peace in many European and Middle Eastern countries, and we need the same harmony in our countries to live peacefully together and avoid the loss of precious lives in any conflicts, especially along the border.
As part of his peace journey, Malik recorded views of overseas Pakistanis and Indians throughout the European countries to use his expertise and uploaded them on his different social media platforms where thousands of visitors follow him daily.
The journey he started came to him when he was forced to spend months in his room after he was diagnosed with Kerataconus, a rare eye disease, in 2007.
“Due to this disease, I was unable to read, work or even go outside of my room, and I had to spend a great deal of time indoors. During this period, my only form of entertainment was listening to radio broadcasts, and after listening to various conflicting stories, I decided to do something to promote peace as overseas Pakistanis and Indians are living everywhere in peace.”
He mentioned that it was not an easy task but a great challenge, from generating resources to obtaining permission from different departments, especially for his car, hardships of weather, health related issues and others.
“As a small businessman, it was not easy for me to pool all the resources, but I was determined, which culminated in me financing two phases of the peace journey. When I was in Europe, the weather was extreme, with snow and cold, and after a break of couple of months I was in the Middle East, where the weather was extreme again, this time humid and hot,” he said.
Soon, he will be starting his third and final phase of the peace journey from Karachi where he will travel to Lahore and Wagah border where he will enter India.
“During my stay in Pakistan, I will visit many cities, including Peshawar, to meet the students of the Army Public School, where over 140 people died in the terrorist attack. The loss of over 100 schoolchildren was a great shock, and to remember the sacrifices of these students I dedicated my whole peace journey to the martyred students of the Army Public School, Peshawar,” he said.
However, the office-bearers of the association presented a shield to Malik and wished him a safe and fruitful journey.
The officials who attended the reception included Zahid Tirmizi, vice president, Dr Faisal Ikram, general secretary, Tahir Zaidi, joint secretary, Malik Arshad, culture secretary and a number of members.

~ by jamilkhan on January 26, 2015.

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