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Monday, July 15, 2024

Pakistani, Kashmiri MPs achieve historic wins in UK parliament

This milestone is particularly significant for the British-Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, which now have 15 MPs.

In a historic shift, the 2024 UK parliamentary elections have ushered in the most ethnically diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Ethnic minority lawmakers now account for 13% of the House of Commons, up from 10% in 2019. This milestone is particularly significant for the British-Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, which now have 15 MPs, including four first-time members.

Key Pakistani and Kashmiri MPs

Labour candidates Afzal Khan, Imran Hussain, Naz Shah, Yasmin Qureshi, Muhammad Yasin, Tahir Ali, Shabana Mahmood, Zarah Sultana, Dr. Zubir Ahmed, Naushabah Khan, and Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan all secured seats in parliament. They are joined by independents Ayoub Khan and Adnan Hussain, as well as Conservative MPs Saqib Bhatti and Nusrat Ghani.

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Increasing Female Representation

The new parliament will also feature a record 242 female MPs, an increase of 22 from the last election. This progress continues the trend toward greater gender equality in British politics. Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black female lawmaker, who was re-elected to her northeast London seat, will now serve as the “mother of the house,” an honorary title for the longest-serving female MP.

Labour’s Dominant Victory under Keir Starmer

Labour’s landslide victory, with around 412 seats and a majority of 174, signals a significant political shift. Keir Starmer’s leadership has effectively ended 14 years of Conservative rule, marking a new era in British politics. Despite the high number of ethnic minority MPs, this diversity may not be fully reflected in Starmer’s initial cabinet appointments. Expected to join the top team are Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister David Lammy, Justice Minister Shabana Mahmood, and Energy Minister Ed Miliband.

Farewell to Rishi Sunak

Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the UK’s first British-Indian leader, highlighted the nation’s progress in minority representation during his farewell speech outside No. 10 Downing Street. Sunak’s tenure marked a significant milestone for ethnic diversity in British politics.

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The Pakistani and Kashmiri communities have high expectations from their newly elected MPs. Fahim Kayani, a leader of the Kashmiri and Pakistani diaspora, emphasized the need for these lawmakers to address issues related to Kashmir and Palestine. Kayani noted the increased number of pro-Kashmir MPs and expressed hope for their active advocacy for justice and self-determination.