Eastern Eye (UK)
Significance of Yousaf’s victory
ENID BLYTON and Agatha Christie wrote about a country in which it would not have possible for someone of Pakistani heritage to become leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).
As Humza Yousaf was elected Nicola Sturgeon’s successor – he was due to be confirmed as Scotland’s first minister as Eastern Eye went to press on Tuesday (28) – his mother Shaaista Bhutta and his wife Nadia El-Nakla both wiped away tears as they witnessed history in the making.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said regardless of politics, it was important to reflect on the fact that Scotland will have a first first minister from an ethnic minority background.
It was a “significant moment” for Scotland, he said, as he offered his “sincere congratulations” to Yousaf and his family.
It is good that Rishi Sunak is, in a sense, old news. Let’s not forget the first was Indian-origin Leo Varadkar, who was Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) from 2017 to 2020, and returned to the post in December 2022.
I met Anas’s dad, Mohammad Sarwar, when he stood for Glasgow Govan in 1997 as the Labour candidate and was elected Britain’s first Muslim MP. I was shown round the constituency by a young woman who introduced herself: “My name is Nicola Sturgeon.”
The first Pakistani of note in Scotland with whom I became friends was the late Bashir Maan, a councillor and magistrate. When he stood for parliament in East Fife, a rural constituency, in 1974, dogs barked at him because they had never before seen an Asian.
Views in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper