The Frenchman returned to action following three months out with a hamstring injury in the Magpies' Europa League clash with Benfica and is expected to play a part in their Tyne-Wear derby game against Sunderland later today.
Pardew told reporters: "When I looked at Newcastle as an outsider, I always admired the way they played here.
"There was always that outstanding player that lifted the crowd. You had Tino Asprilla, Peter Beardsley and Kevin Keegan.
"And you have to put Hatem in that category as a special player. We've had a few ups and downs with injuries. But he can do things that no other player can do."
Newcastle are five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with six games to play this season.