Mohammad Sarwar

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For other persons of this name, see Muhammad Sarwar.
Mohammad Sarwar
محمد سرور
Governor of Punjab (Pakistan)
In office
2 August 2013 – 29 January 2015
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood
Succeeded by Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Central
In office
6 May 2005 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Anas Sarwar
Majority 13,518 (48.2%)
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Govan
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Ian Davidson
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 12,464 (49.3%)
Personal details
Born (1952-08-18) 18 August 1952 (age 63)
Pirmahal, Punjab, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Labour Party (UK) (until 2010)
Pakistan Muslim League (N) (2012-2015)
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf logo.svg Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (2015-present)
Spouse(s) Perveen Sarwar
Children 3 sons, 1 daughter
Alma mater University of Faisalabad
Religion Islam

Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar (Urdu: محمد سرور‎; born 18 August 1952) is a Pakistani and formerly British politician who served as Governor of Punjab, from 2 August 2013 until his resignation on 29 January 2015.[1] Sarwar is currently affiliated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.[2] and now is PTI's Punjab Organiser. He previously served as a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Born in Faisalabad, Sarwar moved to Scotland in the early 1970s where he emerged as an successful businessman operating a chain of cash and carry stores which helped him build an estimated personal worth of £16 million.[3] Sarwar served as Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central from 1997 to 2010 and retired from British politics in 2010. During his time at Westminster he served on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, while his son Anas Sarwar served as MP for the same seat. He holds the status as the first Muslim to sit in the British parliament. [4]

He renounced his British citizenship in August 2013 following confirmation for a largely ceremonial position of governorship representing the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (N).[5] He resigned from the position on 29 January 2015 days after criticising the government's foreign policy. He announced his defection to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on 10 February 2015.[6]

Early and family life[edit]

Mohammad Sarwar was born in an Arain family of the village "Sian De Khuie", near Faisalabad, Pakistan.[7] He was educated at the University of Faisalabad. In 1976 he moved to Scotland.[8] That year he married Perveen Sarwar, with whom he had three sons and one daughter.[4]

Sarwar has estimated assets of £16 million,[9] mainly from the family wholesale cash and carry business, United Wholesale Grocers, which Sarwar and his brother founded in 1982. The brothers split the business in 2002, with Sarwar forming United Wholesale (Scotland) while his brother retained the previous name.[10]

His eldest son was accused of an £850,000 missing trader fraud in United Wholesale (Scotland) Limited while he was managing director in 2003. In 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned his earlier conviction in 2007 for the fraud.[9][11][12] Mohammad Sarwar was a remunerated director of the company,[13][14] but never accused of involvement in the alleged fraud.

British political career[edit]

Sarwar first stood as a Labour councillor for Pollokshields East in the 1987 Glasgow City Council election, almost overturning a large Conservative majority. In 1992 he won the ward for Labour.[8]

Sarwar was elected as MP for Glasgow Govan in the 1997 general election, becoming the first Muslim MP in Britain and the first Asian MP elected to represent a Scottish constituency. He was the first MP to swear the Oath of Allegiance on the Qur'an, using the method laid out by the Oaths Act 1978.[15] Sarwar was suspended from holding office within the Labour Party in 1997 when he was charged with election offences,[16][17] but he was acquitted in 1999 and the suspension was lifted.[18]

He was re-elected in Glasgow Govan in the 2001 general election. The 2005 general election saw boundary changes in Scotland, so he fought and won the new constituency of Glasgow Central. He faced an opponent from the British National Party, with whom he refused to share a platform, and he persuaded other candidates to do the same. The returning officer announced the result from a platform with no candidates, and Sarwar later made a speech from the floor of the hall.

Sarwar became a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee from 2004, and was chairman since 2005.[19]

In August 2006, he was a signatory to an open letter to Tony Blair criticising British foreign policy.[20]

He played a crucial role in bringing to justice the killers of Glasgow schoolboy Kriss Donald. The killers fled to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with Britain. Through his political connections Sarwar was able to agree a one-off, no conditions attached, extradition treaty. They then faced trial and were convicted for the murder.[21]

On 21 June 2007, Sarwar announced he would not stand again at the 2010 general election.[22] His son, Anas Sarwar, succeeded him as MP for the Glasgow Central seat.

In November 2008, Sarwar was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympics, saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage". The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.

His nomination by Gordon Brown for a life peerage in the 2010 Dissolution Honours was blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission on the advice of HM Revenue and Customs, but the objections have since been lifted.[23]

Pakistani political career[edit]

He played an important role in campaigning and fundraising in Britain for the centre-right conservative party Pakistan Muslim League (N) during the 2013 General election in Pakistan. Soon after Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister, he showed his intentions for becoming governor of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab.

On 5 August 2013, he was sworn in as the Governor of Punjab.[24] As governor he criticised the government on a number of occasions. He fought the case of overseas Pakistanis whose houses and flats were confiscated by the land mafia in Pakistan but unable to redress their grievances successfully. On the occasion of Barack Obama's visit to India, he termed it as a failure of the government of Nawaz Sharif. These anti-government remarks led to his resignation.

He resigned as governor of Punjab on 29 January 2015.[1] On 8 February 2015, Sarwar joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).[25]


  1. ^ a b Abdul, Manan. "Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar resigns after making anti-govt remarks". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 29 January 2015.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ Sarwar eyes top slot after joining Khan’s team
  3. ^ UK's first Muslim MP Mohammad Sarwar becomes governor of Pakistan's Punjab province
  4. ^ a b "SARWAR, Mohammad". Who's Who 2010 online edn. Oxford University Press. November 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "چوہدری محمد سرور پنجاب کے نئے گورنر" [mh sarwar new punjab governor]. BBC Urdu (in Urdu) (BBC). 
  6. ^ Will officially join PTI today: Chaudhry Sarwar
  7. ^ "Profile - Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar". Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Biography - Mohammad Sarwar". Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "MP's son guilty of huge cash scam". BBC News Online. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  10. ^ "Bank Raises A Glass After Signing-Up United Wholesale Grocers". Clydesdale Bank. 21 February 2005. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  11. ^ "Former MP Sarwar's son cleared of £850,000 fraud". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Kelly Fiveash (24 May 2007). "MP's son guilty of VAT carousel fraud". The Register. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  13. ^ "Register of Members' Interests". House of Commons. 4 December 2003. 
  14. ^ "Changes to the Register of Members' Interests - Mohammad Sarwar". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  15. ^ "The Parliamentary Oath" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 14 February 2000: 10. Research paper 00/17. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  16. ^ "Mohammad Sarwar MP indicted". Scottish Office. 30 September 1998. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  17. ^ ""Internal Exile" for Sarwar". BBC - politics 97. 1997. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  18. ^ "MP cleared of bribery". BBC News Online. 25 March 1999. 
  19. ^ "Voting Record — Mohammad Sarwar". The Public Whip. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  20. ^ "Minister criticises Muslim letter". BBC News Online. 12 August 2006. 
  21. ^ Wylie, Bob (8 November 2006). "Gangsters, murder and extradition". BBC News. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  22. ^ "Sarwar plans to stand down as MP". BBC News Online. 21 June 2007. 
  23. ^ Johnson, Simon (26 September 2010). "Muslim MP's peerage blocked by the taxman". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  24. ^ "Sarwar takes oath as 35th Punjab governor". Dawn.Com. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  25. ^

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ian Graham Davidson
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Govan
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central
Succeeded by
Anas Sarwar
Political offices
Preceded by
Syed Ahmed Mahmud
Governor of Punjab
2 August 2013 – 29 January 2015
Succeeded by
Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana