The Vice-Chancellor of Bradford University has mounted an impassioned defence of its Chancellor Imran Khan after a student motion was lodged calling for him to stand down.

Next month the University’s Student Union will vote on the motion which demands the international cricketer turned politician steps down due to a “neglect” of his duties to attend recent graduation ceremonies.

But Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor has stood by Mr Khan.

The last time Mr Khan, leader of the opposition party PTI in the Pakistani National Assembly, attended a graduation is believed to have been in 2010. The motion was raised by law student Mohsin Tanveer, and will be voted on at a union meeting on Monday, March 10.

Mr Tanveer said: “Many students are unhappy with the fact that they have been denied the opportunity to engage with the Chancellor on a regular basis.”

Prof Cantor said: “Our Chancellor has a major political role in Pakistan, a country which has serious problems with terrorism, education and poverty.

“While I understand that it is frustrating for students that Imran has not attended an award ceremony at Bradford for some time, I have urged students to be sympathetic to the situation in Pakistan and the responsibility Imran has to improving the state of the country. I have appealed to the better nature of our student body to be more supportive of the work Imran has to carry out as a politician.”

A union spokesman said it could not comment on the motion until it is discussed at the council meeting.

Mr Khan is the fifth Chancellor in the university’s history, having been appointed in 2005.

The university website says the Chancellor’s role is to confer degrees twice a year.