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August 25, 2018

PM Imran's victory celebrated by Asian businessman in UK


Sat, Aug 25, 2018

LONDON: An Asian businessman is celebrating the election victory in Pakistan of “son in law of Richmond” - Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Ashwani Kumar, 65, has put up a big banner outside his shop on the Redline Street, attracting attention of the locals who are stopping by to notice the banner, visible from afar.

The big banner outside the Stitch N Fix shop reads: "Congratulations to son in law of Richmond Imran Khan on becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan".

Ashwani Kumar runs his grocery shop and dry-cleaning business on a short distance from the residential addresses of Imran Khan’s former in-laws, the Goldsmith family.

Zac Goldsmith, the local MP for Richmond Park and a friend of Ashwani Kumar, put up the picture of congratulatory banner on social media sites to show support for Imran Khan from the local residents of Richmond.

Speaking to Geo News for an interview, the businessman said that Imran Khan got married to his first wife Jemima Goldsmith a few steps away from his business at the local Registry office in Rihcmond and had a strong local connection since his in-laws and children lived locally.

“The Goldsmith family and Imran Khan are frequent visitors of my shop. They come here for dry-cleaning, alteration etc. Jemima and Zac goldsmith are my local customers,” said the businessman who runs a group called “The British Overseas Friends of India and Pakistan”.

Kumar claimed that Zac Goldsmith is like his “brother, son”, adding that his father Jimmy Goldsmith was his friend too while he was alive.

“I am Zac Goldsmith’s local election campaign manager during election time. I am very happy that I am connected with this man, Imran Khan. He visits me when in Richmond. He’s great pride of Richmond because he stays locally when in London,” said the businessman in reference to Imran Khan mostly staying at Annabel Goldsmith’s house in Richmond when in London.

Besides dry-cleaning and stitching, Ashwani Kumar sells newspapers and magazines as well. He said that around 15-20 years ago Imran Khan for the first time walked into his shop in Shalwar Kameez to buy Jang newspaper and he was surprised to see him.

“I was surprised to see him. He didn’t talk much and smiled. He had come to buy daily Jang newspaper.”

The businessman said that since he has put up the banner, locals have walked into his shop to ask about the “son in law of Richmond”, some drivers have honked passing from outside to acknowledge and some have eaten sweets to celebrate.

Ashwani Kumar called himself a “patriot Pakistani”. His parents migrated from Gujranwala to India at the time of 1947 partition.

“I was born in India and came to the UK at a young age and since then I have been living in Richmond but I consider myself a Pakistani. My elders lived near GT Road Gujranwala and were famous for their hospitality. I recently visited Pakistan and went to Gujranwala to visit the places where my elders lived.”

Imran Khan and Jemima Goldmsith were married until 2004. Jemima Goldsmith and her children live in Richmond. Jemima’s brother Zac Goldsmith is co-chairman of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI).

Zac Goldsmith said in a statement: “Imran has many friends in our community and like me, they are celebrating the decision by Pakistani voters to back him. It has been a long battle for him, but I have never had any doubt that he would become Prime Minister. I have no doubt he will tackle the corruption that has blighted and held Pakistan back for so long.”

Imran Khan had supported Zac Goldsmith in his London mayoral bid against Sadiq Khan.