UK: ‘Help Pakistan or lose votes’ Asian councillors told
FIREBRAND politician George Galloway has called on Birmingham’s Pakistani community to turn their backs on MPs who fail to raise concerns over the security situation in Pakistan, following a spate of recent bombings in the country.
The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow was attending a public meeting titled ‘Pakistan in Crisis’ in the city’s Central Mosque in Highgate, where he told an audience of 250 that recent bombings in Pakistan were a direct result of the unstable war in Afghanistan. He also claimed the ‘War on Terror’, which has recently spilled into the country with US bombing strikes frequently targeting South Waziristan, was being allowed due to the complacency of British Pakistani MPs.
"I love Pakistan, all my life I have loved it, even before it became two countries," he said. "We are reminded that there are four Pakistani MPs in Parliament.
" A fact I nearly forgot as none of them has raised a finger or voice against the US-led attack on Pakistan. They’re just there to be reeled in when their political leaders want to justify an attack on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Pakistan."
Galloway’s views were echoed by Respect Birmingham City Councillor Salma Yaqoob, who urged Muslims from the region to increase pressure on Asian councillors or deny them their vote.
"We need to tell these people who come to our homes asking for our votes they will not get it unless they do something to help the people of Pakistan," she said.
"They [US/UK coalition] haven’t learnt from the past and are taking their war into Pakistan. As people from all backgrounds, and I stand here as a British citizen, we cannot allow this to happen in our name.
"We have that special responsibility as British citizens to pressure our government to stop bombing Afghanistan. If Afghanistan hadn’t been bombed, Pakistan would have never been bombed," she added.
The meeting was primarily attended by members of the Pakistani, Somali and Arab Muslim community and chaired by Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq. Other speakers included Councillor Naeem Ullah Khan, Muslim human rights activist and former Taliban captive Yvonne Ridley; and Pakistani political commentator Choudary Tasadiq Arvi.