UK Elects 3 Kashmiri MPs8 May 2010
Mirpur: Elected in May 6 elections, three Kashmiris are among the eight South Asian Muslims on their way to the British House of Commons. The first Muslim woman, Barrister Shabana Mahmood, elected from Birmingham constituency as ruling Labour Party nominee, originally hails from Mirpur in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) and Khalid Mahmood also from Labour defended his seat in Birmingham, too hails from Mirpur while Conservative Party’s first Muslim MP Rehman Chishti (also of Kashmiri origin) won from Gillingham constituency in Southeast England. The number of Muslims serving in the UK Parliament has doubled to eight in the closest elections in decades. The election also saw the first three Muslim women – all from the Labour Party - elected to the 650-member House of Commons. Three Pakistan origin MPs Sadiq Khan from Karachi and Anas Sarwar from Faisalabad and Yasmin Qureshi, a Pakistani-born criminal barrister, won their constituencies with the support of Kashmiri Diaspora. In addition, the Conservatives have gained their first two Muslim Ministers of Parliament. The possibility of a third was dashed after Zahid Iqbal failed in overturning Labour’s 3,000 majority in Bradford West, northern England. Around 8,00,000 Kashmiris from Mirpur and its adjoining areas are settled in various cities and countryside of the United Kingdom and have influence on 20 to 30 British constituencies besides electing hundreds of councillors every year. “This is the outcome of our 60 years hard work and commitment to the cause and we are happy having double number of MPs in the Parliament” said Abdullah Zaid while talking this correspondent from Brierfild Nelson area of UK. There was jubilation in Mirpur and Muzaffarabad over the winning of election by the Kashmir origin candidates. A woman of Bangladeshi descent, Rushanara Ali, won the East London constituency of Bethnal Green & Bow with 21,784 votes. Nadhim Zahawi, the chief executive of online market research agency YouGov, became the first Iraqi Kurd to become a UK MP by successfully defending the Conservatives’ 10,000-plus majority in Strafford, central England. At least 16 Muslim female candidates were standing at the elections, including Maryam Khan, who is also trying to defend a Labour seat in Bury North in north-west England. The first male Asian MP, the Indian Dadabhai Naoroji, was elected in 1892 for Finsbury in central London. Mohammad Sarwar became the UK’s first Muslim MP after winning Glasgow Central in 1997. Meanwhile, the UK’s largest Muslim organisation-Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has congratulated the British Muslim community for taking part in the Thursday’s national polls and said this election has proven to be a milestone for them as they have confounded critics to take part in democratic culture in even greater numbers.