Bashir Ahmad (politician)

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Bashir Ahmad (Urdu: بشیر احمد )
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
In office
3 May 2007 – 6 February 2009
Succeeded by Anne McLaughlin
Personal details
Born (1940-02-12)12 February 1940
Amritsar, British India
Died 6 February 2009(2009-02-06) (aged 68)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party

Bashir Ahmad (12 February 1940 – 6 February 2009[1]) was a successful businessman and a Scottish National Party politician. He made history when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent the Glasgow region at the 2007 election, as the first MSP to be elected from Asian-Scots, Muslim and non-White backgrounds.[1][2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Amritsar, British India. In 1961, at the age of 21, Ahmad emigrated to Scotland from Pakistan. He served five terms as President of the Pakistan Welfare Association.[5]

Political career[edit]

Flags outside of the Scottish Parliament flying at half-mast following the death of Bashir Ahmad MSP

Ahmad had long been active in the SNP. In 1995, he founded Asian Scots for Independence to attract more Asian-Scots to the party. He retired from business in 2003 to devote himself to politics. In that year's elections, he beat all odds and won this Labour safe seat and became elected councillor of Pollokshields East.

Upon his selection as second on the SNP's Glasgow list, Ahmad said: "The lack of any Asian or ethnic minority voice in the Scottish Parliament has been felt deeply in my community. But SNP members have righted that wrong. By doing so, they have proved that the SNP aspires to lead a Scottish Parliament that will represent all of Scotland – a truly national parliament. I firmly believe the SNP can now earn the trust of the Asian community throughout Scotland and that this will be a bond that endures for generations."

During the 2007 elections, Ahmad was elected to the Scottish Parliament on the Glasgow regional list. He thus became the first non-white and first Muslim MSP.[6][7] He took his oath of office using both the Urdu and English language.[1]

When Bashir launched Scots Asians for Independence at the SNP conference in 1995, he electrified[4] the conference by saying "it isn't important where you come from, what matters is where we are going together as a nation" and with these words he received a standing ovation from a full auditorium.

Campaigns[edit]

Ahmad lead the bill on making forced marriages a criminal offence in Scotland and participated in a humanitarian campaign for Scottish hospitals to treat the most serious casualties of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, particularly women and children with life-threatening burns or other wounds.[4] He was a member of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee, which decides which action should be taken on petitions submitted by individuals, groups or organisations.[4]

Family life[edit]

A family man, Bashir is survived by his wife Naseem, their five daughters, two sons and 11 grandchildren.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c [1] BBC News | Scotland's first Muslim MSP dies
  2. ^ [2] BBC News | First Asian MSP goes to Holyrood
  3. ^ a b Salmond, Alex; Ministerand, First (14 February 2009). "Bashir Ahmad: The Scottish Parliament's first Asian member – Obituaries, News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  4. ^ a b c d Davison, Phil (10 February 2009). "Bashir Ahmad – Scotsman.com News". Edinburgh: News.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  5. ^ [3] BBC News | Scotland set for first Asian MSP
  6. ^ [4] Interview with The iWitness, Scotland's Muslim Newspaper
  7. ^ [5] BBC election report, Friday, 4 May 2007