By FATIMA PATEL
British Pakistanis are the second-largest ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom and are also one of the largest overseas Pakistani communities.
Bradford has more Pakistani residents than any other place in England and Wales, according to Office for National Statistics, with statistics claiming that 1 in 5 people in Bradford are of Pakistani origin.
With this in mind, you can understand why the recent Pakistan elections were closely followed by many of Bradford’s residents, with some even flying out to their heritage country to join in the election campaigns.
Pakistan election 2018 are said to have been the dirtiest elections ever run, with more than 20 killed and allegations of rigging. Some Bradford residents told Asian Sunday, that even they ended up having huge debates (with some ending up in fall outs), with their relatives and families living in Pakistan over who to vote for.
It is believed while most of the older generation wanted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N ) the party of incumbent Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was recently sent to jail for 10 years in anti-corruption charges to win the elections, the younger generation wanted a change and they preferred former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to win the elections.
At the time of reporting election results that were announced so far declared that Imran Khan has become victorious, winning 110 seats in the national assembly, and is set to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Certainly seems that many have bought into his nayaa (new) Pakistan concept.
Ishtiaq Ahmed, Manager at mental health charity Sharing Voices, who was also a former Bradford Councillor told Asian Sunday: “Personally I am not into Pakistani politics, but I have been following the Pakistan elections.
“Imran Khan brings a breath of fresh air to politics in Pakistan. People should be appointed on merit and I think that that’s what has happened here. In the past perhaps, people in Pakistan have voted based on ‘tribal mentalities’. What I mean is people have voted based on who their tribe is going to vote for. Some people sit in a group and tell people that as a tribe everyone has to vote for this person or that and this is what has caused the same people historically to be voted in time and time again, despite the fact that they have done nothing in the interest of their people.
“I don’t think Imran Khan do any worse than his predecessors and I hope that this trend continues and that people in Pakistan and else where for that matter get voted in on meritocracy rather than tribe. He (Imran) is a neautral person who will reach out to a wider audience and I think he deserves a chance”
Female entrepreneur Farnaz Khan, resonated with Ishtiaq in that she is thinks for Imran Khan deserves a chance. She says: “Pakistan has needed a change for so long. For decades the people of Pakistan has voted in the same regimes hindering Pakistan’s potential and progress.
“People have woken up and are realising their votes are worth more than a few new roads.
“Pakistan deserves a fair society, great enterprise, justice, education and health system for all. It’s great to see Imran khan making some bold pledges for the welfare of the people of Pakistan but the question is will he be consistent in all his promises and deliver? I hope so! Said Farnaz
Farnaz told Asian Sunday she liked how instantly Imran Khan has announced that he will not move into the presidential palace and instead will consider putting this into use for education
and also commercialise other buildings for ministers to generate income for the people of Pakistan.
The Bradford business woman continues to be impressed by Imran Khan’s initial victory speech on how he has also talked about working with businesses to strengthen and create wealth for Pakistan which she says is really encouraging to hear as she believes businesses are the backbone for any economy. “If any government gives them an environment to thrive then not only is that good news for domestic businesses but also overseas investors. For me as an overseas Pakistani I would love to see him make Pakistan more accessible, stable and secure for trade and investors (especially women), as by doing so this will play a big role in his goals and plans. She continued
“I really pray and hope it is change for the betterment of all the people of Pakistan. Today, Pakistan woke up to a new dawn, a new and naaya Pakistan. Time will tell if this new regime is a change for the better, until then Imran Khan has a mammoth task ahead of him in rejuvenating Pakistan, the hard work starts now.”
Adeeba Malik Deputy Chief Executive of Bradford charity QED, who have developed many successful initiatives in Pakistan told Asian Sunday that for many years people have asked her that sine Imran Khan has been involved in politics, whether she thought he would ever become PM of Pakistan. Her blunt reply has always been ‘no’.
“I’ve said no, and obviously people have proved me wrong.” Adeeba Said.
“His (Imran Khan’) election is telling the world that people of Pakistan want change. What he has said about anti-corruption and a better Pakistan has resonated with the people and therefore the results are there to see.
“Now the challenge is doing what he says he will deliver”