Northern Asian Powerlist 2020 winners – Nazir Afzal

Nazir Afzal, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, won the Thought Leaders category of the inaugural Northern Asian Powerlist 2020.

The full list of winners, along with all those shortlisted, was announced on Friday 2 October.

Outlining why they had chosen Afzal, the judges’ report said: “A clear number one pick in the year he publishes his book, The Prosecutor, Nazir Afzal OBE remains as committed and focused as ever on changing cultural, political and ideological expectations, attitudes and preconceptions that surround women’s rights and the rights of the vulnerable in particular.

“Mr Afzal has challenged the establishment and won, saving lives in the process.

“His refusal to allow the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young girls by organised gangs was a remarkably courageous endeavour that required him to place himself and his family in danger.

“What is particularly inspiring is – as is apparent from his recent interviews published in The Times – his unwavering determination to offer his expertise at the very highest level to improve the life chances for those often at the very lowest levels of modern society.”

Afzal responded: “To be recognised by your peers is both a delight and a responsibility, particularly in these challenging times.

“This award honours the many people to whom I owe my good fortune. The diversity of this great nation is its strength and I am so pleased that we continue to celebrate it.”


Shortlisted for the Thought Leaders category were:

North East – Dr Hari Shukla MBE OBE, noted equality campaigner and humanitarian; Nitin Shukla, policy performance and scrutiny officer, Northumbria Police; Vasant Oswal, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

North West – Dr Nighat Awan OBE, chief executive, Shere Khan Group; Mohammed Amjed Khan, consultant cardiologist and honorary vice president of British Medical Association.

Yorkshire & the Humber – Qari Asim, senior imam at Makkah Mosque, Leeds; Rashik Parmar, IBM Fellow and vice president Technology – Europe, and Leeds City Region LEP board member; Amarjit Singh, founder of Yorkshire Asian Business Association.