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October 2, 2013
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Pakistanis to determine outcome of 16 seats in next UK polls

National

October 2, 2013

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LONDON: British Pakistanis are set to play a decisive role in at least 16 constituencies in the next general elections in Britain, the Conservative Friends of Pakistan Director Zameer Chaudhry has said.
Speaking in Manchester at a side event on the occasion of the annual Conservative Party conference, Zameer Chaudhry told a large number of audience, including leading Conservative party figures, that opinion polls suggest that the next election could be very tightly fought and Pakistani community vote would be crucially important in around 20 constituencies but “decisive in 16”. “This provides the community with a historic opportunity to establish itself in the mainstream of British politics and make its voice heard.”
He told the delegates: “With over 1.2 million, British Pakistanis are the second largest minority ethnic group and constitutes 1.5% of the national population. We are a young, dynamic, aspirational community. In a short space of time we have achieved much; highest rate of home ownership at 77% amongst the minority communities, highest rate of self-employment amongst ethnic groups at 12% and our children have reversed previous academic failings so much so that in 2012, 3.3% of all university intakes were from our community. A significant number of British Pakistanis are the descendants of one million soldiers who served the Crown in the Great Wars with over 120,000 laying down their lives in the defence of the Empire.”
Chaudhry said that contrary to popular misconceptions, British Pakistanis are increasingly wealth creators who are “patriotic, sophisticated, university educated, home owners with higher expectations of their MPs as opposed to simple bread and butter issues of the past” and there are statistics to back this up.
He said that Pakistanis share several values with the Conservative Party. “We have more in common than either realise — a shared sense of history, a mutual admiration for traditions and

institutions. The Conservative Party’s core beliefs of family, flag and faith are also the values which pervade our daily lives; family is at the epicenter of our life, faith guides us as a way we conduct ourselves in the wider society and we are all proud of our national identity and roots. The British Pakistanis are engines of local wealth creation and the Conservative Party is the party of small businesses and lower taxes and it is these synergies which makes the Conservative the party to support at the next general election,” he said.
Zameer Chaudhry called on British Pakistani community to participate in all spheres of public life and it is only through active participation and engagement that the community will be able to enhance the image of diaspora in the UK as well as the image of Pakistan. “The more people that participate in politics, community organisations, local and national elections the more members of parliament we would have representing our shared values,” he said, adding that the Conservative Party is making a sincere effort to engage with the British Pakistani community.

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