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Over 40 British Pakistanis contesting UK elections today


June 8, 2017

LONDON: More than 40 men and women of Pakistani origin are taking part in the Britain’s general elections — set to be held today. 

Of these, around 31 are from the mainstream parties such as Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats while the rest are from smaller parties or contesting as independents. A research by these correspondents shows that Labour Party has given tickets to 13 British Pakistanis; Liberal Democrats to 11 candidates; six candidates for the Conservative; one from Scottish National Party (SNP); three for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and one for the Green Party.

Labour has given tickets to the highest number of candidates with a high chance of winning on safe Labour strongholds or relatively safe seats. Elected as an MP in the 2015 General Elections, Naseem Shah (Naz Shah) will be once again contesting from Bradford West. 

Naz Shah defeated former leader George Galloway two years ago and secured a majority of over 11,000. She was made member of the Home Affairs Select Committee and has been very influential in her role. She raised the issue of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder's money-laundering inquiry and asked questions from the Scotland Yard chief and the Home Secretary about the murder investigation of Dr Imran Farooq. Naz Shah has also been a passionate supporter of the cause of Kashmiris. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a statement last week appealing to voters in Bradford West to vote for Naz Shah.

Khalid Mahmood, who will be defending his seat of Perry Bar in Birmingham for the record fifth time, is one of the first few Pakistani origin candidates to be elected as Member of Parliament. Shahbana Mehmood was among the first Muslim women in UK Parliament. She will be contesting for re-election from Birmingham. Yasmin Qureshi will be contesting for re-election from Bolton and along with Shahbana Mehmood was one of the first women elected to UK Parliament. Rosena Allen-Khan, who won in Tooting after Sadiq Khan left his seat to become London Mayor, will be defending her seat. Labour’s Member of European Parliament (MEP) Afzal Khan, who was elected by Labour as a candidate after the death of Sir Gerald Koefman from Manchester’s Gorton constituency, will be contesting for the first time to enter the British Parliament.

The first Muslim mayor of Warrington Cllr, Faisal Rasheed, has been selected to represent Warrington in Parliament for the first time by the Labour Party. The sitting mayor has been selected to contest the Warrington South seat. Mohammad Yasin, who lives in Bradford and has served as a councillor for 11 years and as cabinet member for two, will be contesting for Bradford and Kempston constituency for the first time.

Bilal Mehmood is Labour’s candidate from Chingford and Woodgreen and will be contesting for the second time against senior Conservatives leader Ian Duncan Smith. Shabbir Aslam, ex-mayor of Brounstone Town, will be contesting for the first time from Leicester South Constituency. Imranuddin, a councillor for St Helier Ward in the London Borough of Merton, will fight for Labour from Wimbledon.

Councillor Rafiq Raja, who represents Bowerdean on Wycombe District Council, will battle it out for the Wycombe parliamentary seat in June’s polls. He will be taking part in the elections for the first time.

Elected in 2015, Imran Hussain will be contesting once again from Bradford East. He is a lawyer by training. He was given a ticket against George Galloway for by-election in 2012 which he lost in Bradford West. He was then given ticket for Bradford East where he won with comfortable majority in last elections. Imran faces challenge from independent candidate David Ward who was expelled from Liberal Democrats by the party leadership for criticising Israel. Imran Hussain served as Shadow International Development Minister in the last cabinet. 

The Conservative Party has given tickets to six candidates of British Pakistani descent. Sajid Javed, who has worked in a high-profile role as the cultural, sports and business secretary, will be defending his Bromsgrove constituency for the third time. He was tipped to become the Conservative Party's joint leader after David Cameron's resignation. Rehman Chishti, who once worked as an Adviser to Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, will be defending his Gillingham and Rainham constituency for the third time. He holds the honour of being the youngest member of parliament of Pakistani decent when he was elected in 2010 at the age of 31. Ahmereen Raza, The Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham Hodge Hill, will be contesting for the first time. She is a former CEO and now director of the British Pakistan Foundation. Ahmereen is the founder of Development in Literacy (DiL) Trust UK and has been actively raising funds to promote educational development projects in Pakistan.

Mohammad Afzal is a Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham Yardley. He is contesting for the second time and previously contested the 2015 general elections from Gorton constituency in Manchester. Afzal is a director at the Conservative Friends of Pakistan (CFoP).

Kashif Ali, who contested from the Oldham South constituency in 2010 and 2011 by-elections, was unlucky on both occasions but in the June 8 polls, odds are favouring him and he is running a vigorous campaign. He currently practices law in Manchester and specialises in human rights, personal injury litigation and sex, race and disability discrimination.

Natasha Asghar, daughter of the first Muslim member of the Welsh Parliament Mohammed Asghar, will be contesting for the second time from Newport East. Natasha has worked in the electronic media. Lib Democrats have selected 11 candidates of Pakistani origin to represent them in the elections but only one candidate, Amna Ahmed, stands a good chance of winning. Amna Ahmed, who is the Lib Dems' Shadow Secretary for Immigration, is standing for the third time for her party from Sutton and Cheam which has a lot of a support for Lib Dems. Ednan Hussain from Dewsbury will be representing his party in these crucial elections for the second time in this constituency.

Tahir Mehar, who has been a Lib Dem Councillor for the last eight years, will be contesting for the first time from Milton Keynes. Humaira Sanders has served as chairperson of Ealing Lib Dems and will be contesting for the first time from Ealing North. Irfan Ahmed, a young activist who is very popular in social circles for his public outreach work, will be contesting for the first time from Blackburn. Farid Ahmed, the Lib Dems candidate for Ilford, will be taking part for the first time. He has previously run campaigns for other Lib Dem candidates and is popular in the community. 

Zulfiqar Ali is considered as the most prolific politician in the Lib Dem party and he has served as Mayor of Rochdale. He has been on the immigration advisory board for Lib Dem and will be contesting for the second time from Huddersfield. Zafar Haq has served as Lib Dem's Brexit spokesperson and he was a candidate for Harborough in 2010 and 2015 and will try his luck for the third time. The first Pakistani female aeronautical engineer, Hina Malik, has worked for both the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airways. In 2016, Malik stood as a candidate in a local council by-election in Hounslow. This time she will be contesting from Felthem and Huston.

Aisha Mir, the candidate for Edinburgh South East, contested in the 2015 elections and she is again taking part this time around from the same constituency. Councillor Shafaq Mohammed, Lib Dems Sheffield leader, will be contesting for the first time in general elections.

Tasmeena Ahmed Sheikh, who was the Member of Parliament in 2015, will be defending Perth and Ochal constituency on the Scottish National Party's (SNP) ticket. She has a very good chance of winning again but faces a tough challenge from the Conservatives this time. Sheikh has served as the SNP Trade and Investment spokesperson, Deputy Shadow Leader of the House in the House of Commons and the party's National Women's and Equalities Convener.

Muhammed Gultasab Khan is United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) candidate for Birmingham Hodge Hill who will be representing his party for the first time. He also contested the 2016 local elections from Bordseley Green Ward.

Mohammed Ali Bhatti, the UKIP candidate for London cities and Westminster, will be contesting in the general elections for the second time.

Tariq Saeed, the UKIP candidate for Illford South, will be contesting for the first time. He defected to UKIP from Labour in 2014 and made headlines. He was one of the first few Muslims to join the UKIP. Prior to joining the party he served as a councillor in Barking and Dagenham council.

Gulnar Hasnain, Green Party's candidate for Vauxhall, will be contesting for the first time in the general elections. She is an active social worker and a campaigner for more cycle routes in London. The Friends Party was registered with the Electoral Commission on 17th of February 2017 and it has three candidates for upcoming elections. 

Kane Khan, from East London, is the party leader. He is of Pakistani origin and contesting elections from Ilford South. Afzal Chaudhry, an author, will participate as a parliamentary candidate from East Ham and has been campaigning to the get votes of ethnic minorities. Coraline Aisha Corlis-Khan will contest from Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Salma Yaqub, who was once active in the anti-war movement and founded the Respect Party with George Galloway, is standing as an independent candidate in Bradford West against Labour's Naz Shah. Salma has served as a councillor in Birmingham but stood down in 2011 over health issues. Galloway’s Respect Party disintegrated later over infighting. Galloway is standing as an independent candidate against British Pakistani Labour candidate Afzal Khan in Manchester.

Tariq Mahmood, another independent candidate, contested for the first time from Grantham and Stamford constituency.

Abid Ali, an economist, has stepped up to the plate in the hope of representing Luton South. With a background in IT, economics and computing, this is the first time Ali will be contesting the general elections.

Nadeem Ahmed, an independent candidate from Newport East, who is a strong advocate of young people in the Parliament, will be contesting for the first time. Waj Ali, contesting as an independent from Wakefield, is vying to enter the Parliament for the first time with a 'vision of change'.


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