TRIBUTES have been paid to the chairman of the Pakistan Association of Newport who has died.

Nasim Babur was born in the Punjabi city of Bahawalpur and came to the UK in his 20s, going on to run several Newport businesses.

The Maindee resident was a well-known figure in the community, having helped found the Harrow Road mosque near Corporation Road.

He died in his sleep at the Royal Gwent Hospital the age of 81. His funeral was held yesterday at the Jamia Mosque in Commercial Road, Pill.

Mr Babur was married to Zahida Babur, 70, and was a father to seven and grandfather to eleven.

Bilal Babur, 26 and one of his grandsons, said he had helped care for him while Mr Babur suffered with illness in later years.

He said his grand-father was a “very hard working man”, having started out in markets and worked on buses, as well as running a restaurant and an off licence.

Bilal Babur said the chairman of the Pakistan Association of Newport had helped found the Harrow Road Al Noor mosque, off Corporation Road, in a disused church.

“He was a nice man, very charitable and always there for everyone,” he said. “He was someone to turn to, he was a very generous father.”

The association aimed to represent the Pakistani community in Newport and previously operated a resource centre on Corporation Road.

Kamal Babur, 24 and also Mr Babur’s grandson, said he “lived to bring everyone together”.

“He brought me up all my life – he did the best for all my family and friends,” he said. “For me he was like my dad.”

Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East, said: “I was very sad to hear of the death of Mr Babur yesterday. He was known to many people across Newport. I was always impressed at just how committed to the community he was. He will be greatly missed.”

Her constituency colleague in the Assembly, Welsh Government culture minister John Griffiths, said: “He was always very committed to working with a range of partners for the benefit of the Pakistani community.

“He was a central figure in the Pakistan Association of Newport over many years and showed a great deal of dedication, hard work and energy. He will be missed by the Pakistani community and Newport in general.”

Mohammad Asghar, Tory AM for South Wales East, said Mr Babur had served the community very well.

Newport city for Victoria ward Cllr Majid Rahman said his death was a “great loss to Maindee” and the community.

Cllr Bob Bright, leader of Newport City Council, said Mr Babur was “very much respected for his dedicated and tireless work for the whole community.”

“I was very fond of him and, like all those who knew him, I held him in high regard,” he added.