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February 20, 2016

Row after Sadiq Khan cancels fundraising event


February 20, 2016

LONDON: A row has erupted after Labour candidate for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan refused to participate in a fundraising event organised by a group of Pakistani origin leaders linked with the labour party.

Dr Ashraf Chouhan and Dr Ghulam Murtaza advertised a fundraising event for Thursday night with approval from the Sadiq Khan’s campaign team and the Labour central office but the event was cancelled at the last minute after the organisers were told that Sadiq Khan cannot attend the event because he is busy at a “constituency business”.

The organisers responded angrily and told the press that they were originally asked by the Labour party to hold the event and then later on the party official started asking a number of questions as the date of the event approached. They said the organisers were asked if it was a “Pakistani and Muslim only event”, whether there will be any women in the audience, who were the donors and their names and whether Pakistani media will be present.

The orgainsers said that a leading figure in the campaign team of Sadiq Khan allegedly stated that “Sadiq Khan doesn’t want to be associated too much with Muslims and Pakistanis because of political reasons”.

The organisers said: “We were told to our shock that Sadiq Khan want to present himself as a mainstream candidate who can represent all communities and that he does not want to face Pakistani or Muslim media in the same event. We told the Labour officials that Sadiq Khan has been to Synagogues, temples and mosques and has been attending events organised by non-Muslims, Muslims and atheists and that’s perfectly fine, why make fuss when it’s a Pakistani event and why be so sensitive about it. We make immense contribution to the Labour party and to all other parties and don’t deserve to be treated like a second class citizen but the campaign officials took the unilateral decision of cancelling the event.”

The organisers said that they were given no reason why Sadiq Khan cannot attend the event when the party knew that “payments have been already made for the event venue and the catering.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman of sadiq Khan has rejected the notion that he does not want him to show as Pakistani or Muslim candidate as he always says in his interview that he is Pakistani origin bus driver’s son and a proud Muslim.

The Labour Party confirmed that the fundraiser was cancelled but didn’t give the specific reasons why it had happened so. When The News approached the Labour Party headquarters for their version, a spokesman said: “Sadiq was unable to attend because of constituency business. Of course Sadiq is engaging with the Pakistani community just as he is with all communities in London. Sadiq has always been proud of his Pakistani and Muslim background and regularly speaks about his faith.”


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