LONDON The poet of the East Allama Muhammad Iqbal was Friday honoured in the UK with the placing of his commemorative plaque in William Shakespeares birthplace in this quaint English west midlands town. Pakistan 's High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan unveiled the plaque which is inscribed with calligraphy of Urdu, Persian and English versions of Iqbals poem on Shakespeare. English rendition of the poem has been done by eminent scholar Professor Dr Saeed Durrani, Chairman Iqbal Academy UK. The unveiling of Iqbals memorial plaque took place amidst traditional celebrations of Shakespeares birthday, a popular annual festival that dates back to 200 years and where artistes from different parts of the world including US and Russia give performances besides those from the UK. This year Pakistani folk artistes joined the international performers. Rich tributes to the two great poets of the world from East and West were paid by the speakers including High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Professor Stanley Wells , CBE, Chairman of Shakespeares Birthplace Trust (SBT) , Dr Diana Owen, Director SBT and Professor Saeed Durrani, Chairman Iqbal Academy UK, Professor James Shapiro of Columbia University, New York. Renowned classical artiste Zia Mohyeddin recited poetry of Iqbal whereas folk artistes from four provinces of Pakistan, specially visiting UK for performance on the occasion, captivated the audience with their superb performances. The Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon and Pakistan High Commission also hosted receptions on the occasion. In his opening remarks, Wajid said that with the placing of an Iqbal memorial plaque in Stradford-Upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born and rests in immortality, was homage to the strength of literature and arts which is immortal and indeed transcends borders and times. Paying rich tributes to the two great poets, he said, living in times, almost 300 years apart, I believe that William Shakespeare and Iqbal share the distinction to rise beyond the narrative and describe the innermost and the most profound aspects of human nature Commenting upon Iqbals vision of Pakistan, Hasan said: Like Pakistan 's founder Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah he too was opposed to religious bigotry and extremism. Many of his verses described clerics as those for whom religion was a tool to create dissensions in the body politics of Muslims. He was a stout exponent of Sufi Islam-Islam a religion with a universal message of peace, love and harmony for all. While highlighting the recognition of work of Iqbal beyond the geographical boundaries of Sub-continent, Hasan said: The attention he has received from numerous academics writers, translators, and critics from Western as well as Islamic countries testifies to his stature as a world literary figure. The great intellectual late Anna Marie Schimmel devoted her life to the study of Allama Iqbal. He further added that Iqbal is a poet-philosopher whose poetry and philosophy do not exist in isolation from each other; they are integrally related. Expressing his views about William Shakespeare Mr Hasan said that Shakespeares influence on the English-speaking world is reflected in the ready recognition of many quotations from Shakespearean plays, the titles of works based on Shakespearean phrases, and the frequent performance of his plays. Other indicators of contemporary influence are his inclusion in the top 10 of the 100 Greatest Britons poll sponsored by the BBC, the frequent productions based on his work, such as the BBC Television Series Shakespeare, and the success of the fictional account of his life in the 1998 film Shakespearean Love. Dr Diana Owen, Director of The Shakespeare Trust said, We are dedicated to the worldwide promotion of Shakespeares work and are delighted to commemorate Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbals poem to Shakespeare, here where Shakespeare was born and grew up. We look forward to hosting our guests from Pakistan and recognising the great work of the Poet-Philosopher of the East, Muhammad Iqbal. Diana adds, As Shakespeare wrote in Anthony and Cleopatra, 'I th East my pleasure lies. The study and enjoyment of both these world famous writers brings enormous pleasure to millions and the traditional Shakespeare birthday celebrations here in Stratford offer a timely opportunity to explore our shared cultural heritage and build understanding between nations. Dr. Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust adds, Shakespeare alludes to India or the Indies several times: a distant land which was coming into increasing prominence with the developing trade routes to Europe. Most memorably, there is the enigmatic Indian boy in A Midsummer Nights Dream. One can imagine Shakespeare himself being amazed, delighted, and rather humbled by Iqbals moving poem. At least, thats how we feel at the Shakespeare Centre. Lead folk artistes, representing four provinces included International fame Dhol player Saghir Ahmad, Baqar Abbas, vocalist Akhtar Chanal, singer and Ektara specialist Bushra Marvi with the legendary Alghoza player Veehomal, and Sarinda player Munir Sarhadis successor Ejaz Sarhadi. The visiting artistes were joined by UK-based Pakistani performers Raja Kashif and group, Roshan Abbas and Naheed.