Pakistani origin MP becomes Shadow Deputy Leader of House of Commons

Afzal Khan who recently became Shadow Deputy leader, went to the UK at the age of 11 moving from Jhelum, Pakistan. In 2018, he was awarded Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam by former President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain. He also has the honor of being the first Pakistani and Muslim to become the Lord Mayor of Manchester.

Shadow Deputy leader
Shadow Deputy leader

On 9th April 2020, Mohammad Afzal Khan assumed charge as the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. In British parliamentary practice, the Shadow Cabinet consists of senior members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. They scrutinise their corresponding Government ministers, develop alternative policies, and hold the Government to account for its actions and responses.

Mohammad Afzal Khan, is a sixty-two-year-old British Parliamentarian, born in Jhelum, Pakistan. He is a Labour party politician, elected as an MP from Manchester in 2017 and was re-elected in 2019.

Read more: Pakistan needs to up its game: Pakistani-British Parliamentarian Afzal Khan

Political career

Before assuming his current position as Shadow Deputy leader he has a political career spanning 20 years within the Labour party, Khan has held various distinguished positions. He served as the Shadow Minister for Asia, Africa and the Commonwealth (January 2020 – April 2020). And prior to that, he held the office of the Shadow Minister of State for Immigration (July 2017 – January 2020). He was nominated by the Labour party in June 2014, as the Member of the European Parliament for North West England — a position he held until June 2017.

Khan was the first Pakistani and Muslim to become the Lord Mayor of Manchester (2005-2006). Afzal Khan remained advisor to the Department of Trade and Industry during 2000-2004.

Khan was elected as a Labour Councillor in 2000 and due to his exceptional performance, he was thrice re-elected.  He also served as an Executive Member for Children’s Services.

Apart from being an active player on the political field, Afzal Khan has served various parliamentary committees, sometimes as a chair, on other occasions as a member. In the European Parliament, as a MEP, he twice served as the Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

Background

Khan came to the UK from Jhelum, Pakistan at the age of 11. He kicked-off his work life as a labourer in a cotton mill. He then became a bus driver and subsequently a police constable in Greater Manchester, before qualifying as a solicitor. He served as a director in Mellor & Jackson solicitors in Oldham.

In an interview with The Guardian (2005), Khan said:

“I lived in a small place in Jhelum and was ahead of my age in school when my uncle adopted me. Together with my family I came to the UK and we settled in Brierfield in Lancashire. I went straight to secondary school.”

Read more: Breaking the Asian Glass Ceiling – Afzal Khan

In 2008, Khan was awarded CBE for his work on community cohesion, interfaith harmony and local government. In 2018, former President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain awarded him the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, the highest civilian honour which recognises the contribution of individuals and organisations to the overall welfare of Pakistan and its people.

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