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Britain’s first Muslim lawmaker becomes Punjab Governor

Britain's first Muslim lawmaker becomes Punjab Governor

Pakistan, Islamabad News : Britain’s first Muslim lawmaker, who once faced down racist death threats from his opponents, has returned to his native Pakistan as governor of the country’s most populous province, he told Reuters on Wednesday.

Mohammed Sarwar, a former member of Britain’s parliament representing the opposition Labour party, had to renounce his British citizenship to take on the largely ceremonial post in Punjab. He was officially appointed on Tuesday.

“Everything that I have learnt in my time in Britain – the knowledge and how to run institutions – I can use it for the benefit of Pakistanis,” said Sarwar, 60, who was born in Punjab.

“I can be a bridge between overseas Pakistanis and Pakistanis here and work for the betterment of both.”

Punjab is home to half of Pakistan’s 180 million people and is the country’s wealthiest province, thanks to its fertile fields and industry in the booming city of Lahore, home to an ancient Mughal fort.

But like other parts of the South Asian country, Punjab is also plagued by unemployment, power blackouts and growing militancy – a challenge Sarwar said he was ready for.

“I believe life is in the hands of God. If you are in politics, you have to do the right thing and some people are not going to like it,” Sarwar, who served three terms as a member of parliament for Glasgow, told Reuters by telephone from Lahore.

Reflecting on his years in British politics, Sarwar said he had received death threats from racist groups and was also once threatened after helping bring Asian gang members to justice. Reuters

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