Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London




Sadiq Khan has said he “never dreamt” he would become Mayor of London as he was formally sworn in as Boris Johnson’s successor.

Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager of Stephen Lawrence, said she had not expected to see an ethnic minority politician during her lifetime at his official inauguration.

Sir Ian McKellen and Ed Miliband were among hundreds of guests present for the ceremony at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday morning, after which Mr Khan announced he would be standing down as an MP.

BSadiq Khan during his swearing-in ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in central London on May 7, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

The triumphant Labour politician received a standing ovation as he entered the packed building, which is the seat of the Anglican Church in south London.

“My name is Sadiq Khan and I’m the Mayor of London,” he announced to huge cheers and applause.

“We’re here in Southwark Cathedral because I want to start my mayoralty as I intend to go on.

Sadiq Khan is greeted by Ian McKellen as he arrives for his swearing-in ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in London on May 7, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

“I am determined to lead the most transparent, engaged and accessible administration London has ever seen and to represent every single community and every single part of our city as a mayor for all Londoners.

“So I wanted to do this signing in ceremony here, in the very heart of our city, surrounded by Londoners of all backgrounds.”

The democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, has offered her congratulations to Mr Khan, writing on Twitter; “Son of a Pakistani bus driver, champion of workers & human rights, and now Mayor of London. Congrats.”

Mr Khan, who was elected on Friday with more than 1.3 million votes, emphasised his message of “hope over fear” amid controversy over his Conservative rival’s campaign.

Zac Goldsmith was accused of attempting to smear his opponent by linking him with alleged Islamist extremists with whom he had attended platforms or represented during his work as a lawyer.

Karen Buck, Ed Miliband, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, at Sadiq Khan’s swearing in ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in London on May 7, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Khan’s success was seen as an embarrassment for the Tory camp, prompting some Conservatives and Mr Goldsmith’s own sister, Jemima Khan, to criticise their election tactics.

“I can’t quite believe the last 24 hours,” the new Mayor of London said after signing the document officially declaring him mayor, watched by leaders of different faiths.

“I never dreamt I could be standing here…I promise you that I will always do everything in my power to make our city better.”

He had been introduced by Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

“This really is a glorious day,” she said. ”I never imagined in my lifetime I could have a mayor of London from an ethnic minority.“

 Mr Miliband, the former Labour leader, was sitting in the front row alongside Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn, told the congregation Mr Khan’s victory brought a ”carnival atmosphere“ to the sacred building.

Jeremy Corbyn was conspicuously absent from the ceremony but led congratulations on Twitter, telling the new mayor: ”Can’t wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all“.

Thursday’s election results gave Mr Khan the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history, generating excitement over his future potential among supporters. Source



Pakistan of the Ismailis

By Zaigham Khan

The past is another country, and 1906 is located at a distance of more than a century. In that eventful year, the imam of the small Ismaili Muslim community led the process of forming a political platform for South Asian Muslims at a meeting of the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference in Dhaka. Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III suggested the name of the party – All India Muslim League – and was elected its first president.

Seven years later, a young Mumbai based lawyer, also belonging to the Ismaili community, left the Indian National Congress and joined the party founded by his spiritual leader. We know how this charismatic lawyer turned the party into the voice of Indian Muslims and changed the course of history by founding a new state 34 years later when he was a terminally ill old man.

Sometime before Jinnah returned triumphantly to the city of his birth as the father of the new nation, some Hindu families in my village in District Muzaffargarh were facing a dilemma. Like hundreds, perhaps thousands of Hindu families in India, they had revered Ismaili imams as their spiritual mentors. Keeping with the tradition of mysticism in India, Aga Khan had never asked them to convert. But these were different times, and Aga Khan had finally ordered them to convert to Islam if they wanted to keep the connection. They found it easier to leave their religion than disobey their spiritual mentor. With the help of local Muslims, they converted to Islam in a simple ceremony held at a Sunni mosque, though they chose to embrace the Ismaili denomination.

As a schoolgoing boy, I would meet some men from these families at the Deobandi Jamia mosque where they used to pray every Friday with other Muslims. Everyone knew that Ismails were required to say their prayers at the largest Muslim mosque in the area if a mosque of their own denomination was not available. These Ismaili families later shifted to Multan where they became part of the thriving Ismaili business community.

Multan, the historic city they shifted to, was itself once a centre of Ismaili dawat (preaching). In fact, Ismailis had set up a Muslim state in the area more than a thousand years ago that was terminated violently in 1010 AD by Mahmud Ghaznavi, revered in our textbooks for desecrating a Hindu temple. One of the major shrines in Multan also belongs to a 13th century Ismaili saint, Pir Shams Sabzwari, visited by Muslims of all denominations.

Going back to my own Deobandi mosque, I saw Ismailis praying there till the 1980s, the decade when the Middle East, with its heavy baggage of violent sectarian history, arrived in this part of South Asia. In 1990, a 14-year-old boy killed a crippled Shia worshipper at a Sunni mosque in Muzaffargarh considering his regular presence an abomination for the sacred place. Incidentally, the mosque was built by the Shia owners of a nearby factory.

I went to interview the boy at the district prison. He appeared unrepentant and told me that he was inspired by speeches of a sectarian religious leader based in Jhang. A local lawyer explained to me how leaders of the sectarian organisation patronising the boy had easy access to the district administration and received half a dozen arms licences every day.

Starting its journey as an Islamic state, Pakistan by now had become a sectarian state where Ismailis, along with Shias and non-Muslim minorities, were misfits. Takfiri fatwas, that declare individuals and rival sects to be infidels, are a very old hobby of our religious entities. Some clerics used to call Jinnah Kafir-e-Azam – the Great Infidel – as a retort to his popular title. In the case of Iqbal, clerics had gone much further with Maulvi Abu Muhammad Didar Ali, khateeb of the Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore, issuing a proper fatwa declaring Iqbal an infidel. Interestingly, in the case of His Highness Aga Khan, it was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who raised the question of him not being a perfect Muslim while Iqbal defended his teachings through an article.

For South Asian Muslims, such confrontations were more of an amusing sideshow, not something that affected their day to day lives. Unlike the Middle East where empires with rival sectarian allegiances had created much bad blood, in South Asia there was enough space for Lal Shahbaz Qalandar to turn himself into an eagle and fly unhindered and for Shah Waliullah to carry out his scholarly work.

What changed things in Pakistan for Ismailis – and for everyone else – was the attitude of the state. Over time, the Pakistani state has assumed a sectarian character and its religious institutions have become blatantly sectarian. Take the example of the so-called International Islamic University in Islamabad. How this university employs followers of one sect and promotes teachings of that specific sect to its students has never been a secret. A recent report of an intelligence agency leaked to the media points out that the university “intentionally promotes sectarian doctrine at its campus”. And we are talking of a state-owned and run ‘premier centre of Islamic learning’ with the president of Pakistan as its chancellor.

On the more practical side, the state has patronised militant jihadi organisations belonging to a small number of sects. Thanks to these organisations, some of whom have fallen from grace while others remain precious assets, the takfiri fatwas are no longer empty edicts; they are backed by the firepower of extremist organisations that can easily cow down state institutions and functionaries. No wonder the attack on Ismailis in Karachi was preceded by a fatwa against the whole denomination from one of the country’s largest and most influential madressahs. The head of the same madressah has also issued a fatwa against a federal minister who has been forced to explain his position like a chastised schoolboy.

Violent extremism is only a fruit of the tree the state itself had planted. Perhaps the biggest challenge of our times is to de-sectarianise the Pakistani state and return it to the joint ownership of all Muslims denominations and followers of other faiths. The way Ismailis have maintained stoic silence over the brutality wreaked on the community says a lot about the environment of fear that surrounds them.

Once upon a time, His Highness Aga Khan and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave voice to the aspirations of all Muslims of South Asia. It is now our turn to speak on behalf of our Ismaili brothers and sisters.


Twitter: @zaighamkhan
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Smart Phone-Parents and Children

Image result for smartphone and family relation


Muhammad Ismail Hunzai

Story: The Teacher and Her Husband || Must Read

A teacher after the dinner she started checking homework done by the students. Her husband is strolling around with a smart phone playing his favorite game ‘Candy Crush Saga’.

When reading the last note, the wife starts crying with silent tears.

Her husband saw this and asked, ‘Why are you crying dear? What happened?’

Wife: ‘Yesterday I gave homework to my 1st Standard students, to write something on the topic “My Wish”.

Husband: ‘OK, but why are you crying?’

Wife: ‘Today, while checking the last note, it makes me cry.’

Husband curiously: ‘What’s written in the note that makes you crying?’

Wife: ‘Listen’

My wish is to become a smart phone.

My parents love smart phone very much.

They care smart phone so much that sometimes they forget to care me.

When my father comes from office tired, he has time for a smart phone but not for me.

When my parents are doing some important work and smart phone is ringing, within a single ring they attend the phone, but not me even… even if I am crying.

They play games on their smart phones not with me.

When they are talking to someone on their smart phone, they never listen to me even if I am saying something important.

So, My wish is to become a smart phone.

After listening the note husband got emotional and asked the wife, ‘who wrote this?’.

Wife: ‘Our SON’.

Gadgets are beneficial, but they are for our easy communication not to cease the love amongst family and loved ones.

Children see and feel everything what happens with & around them. Things get imprinted on their mind with an everlasting effect. Let’s take due care, so that they do not grow with any false impressions.

Take care of your children!

Pakistan mulls elevating status of Gilgit-Baltistan on Chinese insistence

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is mulling to elevate the constitutional status of northern Gilgit-Baltistan region in a bid to provide legal cover to the multi-billion-dollar Chinese investment plan, officials said on Thursday.

The move could signal a historic shift in the country’s position on the future of the wider Kashmir region, observers have said.

The proposal would see the mountainous region mentioned by name for the first time in the country’s Constitution, bringing it one step closer to being fully absorbed as an additional province.

Islamabad has historically insisted the parts of Kashmir it controls are semi-autonomous and has not formally integrated them into the country, in line with its position that a referendum should be carried out across the whole of the region.

Sajjad-ul-Haq, spokesman for the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman, told AFP: “A high level committee formed by the prime minister is working on the issue, you will hear good news soon.”

Know more: ‘Almost’ Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan in a constitutional limbo

Rehman, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday, was working on the finishing touches to the agreement, a senior official said, adding the document could be unveiled “in a few days”.

In addition to being named in the Constitution, Gilgit-Baltistan would also send two lawmakers to sit in the federal parliament — though they would be given observer status only.

A third top government official from Gilgit-Baltistan said the move was in response to concerns raised by Beijing about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the $46 billion infrastructure plan set to link China’s western city of Kashgar to the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

“China cannot afford to invest billions of dollars on a road that passes through a disputed territory claimed both by India and Pakistan,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

The corridor plans have been strongly criticised by New Delhi, with India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in June calling the project “unacceptable” for crossing through Indian-claimed territory.

India and Pakistan have fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir, and any changes to the status quo could prove a further setback to hopes for dialogue that were revived after Modi made the historic Lahore visit.

Those efforts were already seen as fragile following a deadly attack on an Indian air base near the Pakistan border Saturday that was followed by a 25-hour siege on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan on Monday.

But according to Pakistani strategic analyst Ayesha Siddiqa, the move could also signal Islamabad’s desire to end the Kashmir conflict by formally absorbing the territory it controls — and, by extension, recognising New Delhi’s claims to parts of the region it controls, such as the Kashmir valley.

“If we begin to absorb it so can India. It legitimises their absorption of the Valley,” she said.

Also read: AJK opposes giving provincial status to GB


GB’s modern history can be traced back to the 19th century. In 1846, after many wars and much bloodshed, GB was incorporated in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Dogras. GB comprised several independent princely states, and all of them now started paying revenue and taxes to the Dogra Raj. The Dogras had an army for the region too, called the Gilgit Scouts.

The Dogra Raj continued for a century, but 1947 spelled upheaval in South Asia and GB was not spared either. With two sovereign states being carved out of united India, GB found itself neither part of India nor part of Pakistan. Even though the Dogras still maintained control over GB after August 1947, their influence was on the wane.

The Dogras were dealt a final blow when a local commander of the Gilgit Scouts, a man named Colonel Mirza Hassan Khan, led a successful rebellion against the Dogra Raj. A government was formed thereafter, for the new Republic of Gilgit, whose president was Shah Raees Khan. Colonel Khan meanwhile became the chief of the Gilgit Scouts.

The new republic could only maintain itself for 16 days. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of Pakistan, was then approached and requested permission for Gilgit to join the Pakistan federation. This was an unconditional offer, which was duly accepted by Jinnah.

Ever since its accession to Pakistan, Gilgit’s fortunes became intertwined with those of Kashmir.

Editorial: Gilgit-Baltistan alienation

As the matter of Kashmir went to the United Nations in 1948 for resolution, so did the matter of Gilgit.

It was claimed by Pakistani authorities at the time that Gilgit, like Kashmir, was a disputed territory. Since both India and Pakistan were asking for a UN-conducted plebiscite in disputed areas, their calculation was that Gilgit’s people would vote in support of Pakistan and thus, swell the vote in favour of Pakistan. In one move, therefore, Kashmir and Gilgit would officially be part of Pakistan.

The UN advised both India and Pakistan to remove their armies from all disputed territories, so that a UN-supervised referendum could take place. Neither country was prepared to let go of territories under their control, and the matter went into cold storage.

Related: Legislators demand GB as province of Pakistan

In 1988, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto made changes to the laws governing the Northern Areas. A new body, called the Northern Areas Council, was duly formed. In her second tenure, Benazir introduced the Legal Framework Order (LFO)-1994, which turned the Northern Areas Council into the Northern Areas Legislative Council. The leader of the house of this body was the deputy chief executive, while the minister of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas served as chief executive.

The most significant change made by Gen Musharraf was granting the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly the right to amend the LFO but the PPP government that came after the General unveiled a reforms package on September 8, 2009.

The then Prime Minister Gilani did away with the term “Northern Areas” and replaced it with “Gilgit-Baltistan”, a long-standing demand of the people of the area.

Related: GB package termed `compromise on Kashmir`

Under the new law, the chief executive was now the chief minister, while there was also provision for a federally-appointed governor. Advisors in the legislative assembly were now ministers.

The GB Council was now comprised 15 members, six of whom were elected from the GB Legislative Assembly while the rest were elected members from Pakistani assemblies. The prime minister was the council chairman, while the minister of Kashmir Affairs was the deputy chairman. Meetings of this body were to be mostly held in Islamabad.

The GB Council was to serve as the upper house of parliament; legislation pertaining to tourism, minerals, forests, as well as water and power all rested with the Council.

In unveiling the new laws, PM Gilani had used the word “autonomy” for GB, but in truth, GB is still a disputed territory. Source

Interview with Mir Ghazanfar Khan, Governor Gilgit-Baltistan

A white winter: Snow in G-B gives residents reason to step out

Children play in snow in Skardu. PHOTO COURTESY: RAZA QASIR

Children play in snow in Skardu. PHOTO COURTESY: RAZA QASIR

GILGIT: Residents of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) received their first real taste of winter on Sunday as valleys in the mountainous region saw snow after at least four years.

“This is amazing, simply amazing to be in the midst of snow,” said Raza Mohammad, a resident of Ghanche district where more than four inches of snowfall was recorded over the past two days.

“Usually the winter brings extreme cold but this time, the snow also brought more colour to our life,” said Raza about the crystalline blanket covering the landscape. This recent snowfall also blocked traffic on highways leading to high altitude areas in Astore, Baltistan and Hunza and Gojal valleys. Gilgit city was the only exception though it received snow on the peaks.

The 10-degree drop in temperature made life harder for locals who face tough conditions as water freezes in pipes and heating options remain limited. Ghulam Nabi, a resident of Yaseen Ghizer, said the temperature has dropped to -10 degree and snowfall continues to lash the valley. However, that did not hinder residents of Gilgit city who visited Hunza to enjoy the snow. “This is so lovely, we enjoyed it a lot,” said Khalid Hussain, a Gilgit resident who was in Gojal on Sunday.

A couple of traffic accidents has also been reported in the region due to slippery roads but without any loss of life. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, more snow on higher altitudes and cold weather in the region will persist in the coming days. Source

Mina stampede: Death toll rises to at least 2,177

DUBAI: The crush and stampede that struck Haj last month in Saudi Arabia killed at least 2,177 pilgrims, a new Associated Press tally showed Monday, after officials in the kingdom met to discuss the tragedy.

The toll from the Sept 24 disaster in Mina keeps rising as individual countries identify bodies and work to determine the whereabouts of hundreds of pilgrims still missing.

The official Saudi toll of 769 people killed and 934 injured has not changed since Sept 26, and officials have yet to address the discrepancy.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the kingdom’s interior minister, oversaw a meeting late Sunday about the Mina stampede, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The agency’s report did not mention any official response to the rising death toll.

Country-wise numbers of people lost in the stampede:

  • Iran: 465
  • Mali: 254
  • Nigeria: 199
  • Egypt: 182
  • Bangladesh: 137
  • Indonesia: 126
  • India: 116
  • Pakistan: 102
  • Cameroon: 76
  • Niger: 72
  • Senegal: 61
  • Ivory Coast, Benin: 62
  • Ethiopia: 47
  • Chad: 43
  • Morocco: 36
  • Algeria: 33
  • Sudan: 30
  • Burkina Faso: 22
  • Tanzania: 20
  • Somalia: 10
  • Kenya: 8
  • Ghana, Turkey: 7
  • Myanmar, Libya: 6
  • China: 4
  • Afghanistan: 2
  • Jordan, Malaysia: 1

The AP count of the dead from the Mina crush and stampede comes from state media reports and officials’ comments from 30 of the over 180 countries that sent citizens for Haj.

“The crown prince was reassured on the progress of the investigations,” the SPA report said.

“He directed the committee’s members to continue their efforts to find the causes of the accident, praying to Allah Almighty to accept the martyrs and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

King Salman ordered the investigation into the disaster, the deadliest in the history of the annual pilgrimage.

The incident came after a crane collapse in Makkah earlier that month killed 111 worshippers, and the twin disasters marred the first Haj to be overseen by the king since he ascended to the throne at the start of this year.

Also read: At least 717 killed, 863 injured in Haj stampede at Mina

The Saudi king holds the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”, and the monarchy’s supervision of the Haj is a source of great prestige in the Muslim world.

Riyadh has rejected a suggestion by Iran to have an independent body take over planning and administering the Haj pilgrimage.

Iran has repeatedly blamed the disaster on the Saudi royal family, accusing it of mismanagement and of covering up the real death toll, which Tehran says exceeds 4,700, without providing evidence.

“The lying and hypercritical bodies, which claim to (be promoting) human rights, as well as the Western governments, which sometimes make great fuss over the death of a single person, remained dead silent in this incident in favour of their allied government,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday, according to a transcript on his website.

“If they were sincere, these self-proclaimed advocates of human rights should have demanded accountability, compensation, guarantee for non-recurrence and punishment for the perpetrators of this catastrophe.”

Saudi Arabia has recently been targeted in gun and bomb attacks by an affiliate of the extremist self-styled Islamic State (IS) group, which holds a third of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared “caliphate”.

Like Al Qaeda before it, the IS group views the Saudi royal family as illegitimate because of alleged corruption and its alliance with the United States.

The previous deadliest-ever incident at Haj was a 1990 stampede that killed 1,426 people. Source


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