Posts Tagged ‘Nahim Ullah Khan’

The Resignation of Councillor Nahim Ullah Khan

Respect party Leader Salma Yaqoob has issued a statement as follows

“A by-election will soon be called in Sparkbrook ward, Birmingham following the resignation of Councillor Nahim Ullah Khan.

Due to personal financial difficulties Nahim is being subjected to Bankruptcy Restrictions Orders and can no longer continue to serve as a councillor. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Nahim and his family in the difficult times they now face.

I am sorry that the residents of Sparkbrook will have to go back to the polls to elect a new councillor. From 2006 they have given their support to the Respect Party in three successive elections. We are deeply appreciative of that support and are committed to working hard for the best interests of all the people of Sparkbrook.

Respect will be selecting a candidate to contest the by-election shortly.”

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Public Meeting: Pakistan in Crisis

  Report by Abu Jamal and Adam Yosef

George Galloway MP in Birmingham

George Galloway MP in Birmingham

A public meeting entitled ‘Pakistan in Crisis’, held by Respect at the Birmingham Central Mosque in the Highgate area of the city on Saturday (18th Oct), was attended by over 250 people.

Salma Yaqoob, city councillor for Sparkbrook, set the tone for the meeting by condemning the recent US military operations in Pakistan which have created numerous civilian casualties; and spoke of the hypocrisy of the British media for failing to report these attacks “on a sovereign nation”.

“We care about every single human being, whether they’re in Birmingham, Baghdad or Pakistan. We do not have the double standards of the British government and media,” she said.

She called for a genuine democratic Pakistan that would not tolerate US military attacks on its own people and explained the current crisis in Pakistan could only be resolved by ordinary people struggling for peace, justice and equality.

Salma Yaqoob speaks about Pakistan

Salma Yaqoob speaks about Pakistan

“I want to see a democratic Pakistan, a peaceful Pakistan, free of all corrupt influences. We need a Pakistan without religious intolerance, that’s what most Pakistanis want. They don’t need Western leaders lecturing them on religion.”

George Galloway, Respect’s MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, spoke at length on the recent history of Pakistan and Kashmir, and received a rousing reception upon declaring the “people of Kashmir have every right and dignity to fight for the freedom of their land.”

He briefly focused on “The Hangman” Zia-Ul-Haq (a reference to General Zia’s execution of former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979), highlighting how Zia became America’s favourite in a line of ‘dictators’. Galloway went on to challenge the corrupt nature of General Pervez Musharraf and how his craven support for US policy in the region had not protected the Pakistani people but exploited them for financial gain.

The outspoken Member of Parliament told a diverse audience that recent bombings in the south Asian state 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.

Audience at Birmingham Central Mosque

Audience at Birmingham Central Mosque

“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 also noted the political silence of another MP, Labour’s Roger Godsiff, whose Parliamentary Hall Green seat Salma Yaqoob intends to challenge at the next General Election. His views were echoed by Yaqoob herself, 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, and there are over twenty Asian councillors in Birmingham, we need to tell them they will not get our votes unless they do something to help the people of Pakistan,” she explained.

“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 proud 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 community, many of whom identified with the political climate in Pakistan. Galloway also touched on the crisis in Somalia, reminding the audience their taxes contributed towards the conflict in the African country.

“In Somalia, the country is occupied by Ethiopian armed forces, paid for by you. Perhaps you didn’t realise the British government is supplying and paying for a foreign army to occupy Somalia.

“They’re doing so using your money while children still suffer a famine on both sides.”

He concluded by imploring those in attendance to support Salma Yaqoob’s campaign to become MP for the Birmingham Hall Green constituency, in an effort to highlight, challenge and resolve many of the issues that had been discussed.

George galloway in Birmingham Central Mosque

George galloway in Birmingham Central Mosque

“Can you imagine if Salma Yaqoob was standing in Parliament as an MP. You might not see her in Downing Street but you’d see her in Parliament day after day speaking out against the oppression of the downtrodden people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan. So you have to support and raise funds for Salma’s campaign so she can become the MP for Hall green in Birmingham.”

His appeal was reiterated by fellow speaker and activist Yvonne Ridley.

“There are many reasons to support Respect and for supporting Salma Yaqoob. We need as much help as we can get to continue holding rallies like this and getting Salma Yaqoob into Parliament is going to cost money.

The Birmingham Respect team with George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley

The Birmingham Respect team with George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley

“We don’t have corporate fat cats throwing money towards us and that’s a good thing. Please dig deep and give generously. You have a fantastic candidate in Salma Yaqoob, someone who cares about issues locally, nationally and internationally.”

The gathering was chaired by Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq. Other speakers included Councillor Naeem Ullah Khan, local activist Richard Hutcher and Pakistani political commentator Choudary Tasadiq Arvi.

Birmingham Respect Rally Videos

Video from Birmingham Respect rally, 9 March 2008

George Galloway, Salma Yaqoob and Salma Iqbal’s speeches at the fantastic, 300-strong rally that launched Birmingham Respect’s election campaign – Also includes speeches by other speakers from the day. Click on the names to see the videos:

George Gallloway | Salma Yaqoob | Salma Iqbal | Mushtaq Hussain | Nahim Ullah Khan

In pictures: Respect election campaign launch

Respect local elections Birmingham campaign launch 2008:

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image:

Respect election launchRespect election launchSalma Iqbal RespectSalma Yaqoob and George Galloway MPCllr Mohammed Ishtiaq Respect BirminghamGeorge GallowayRespect election launch audienceSalma Yaqoob RespectRespect election launch audienceRespect election launch SpeakersRespect election launch crowdGeorge Galloway speaksRespect election launch audienceRespect election launchRespect election launchGeorge Galloway in BirminghamRespect election launchRespect election launch audienceGeorge Galloway speaksGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway and Salma YaqoobGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway speaks to Geo TVSalma Yaqoob speaks with Geo TVGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway meets friendsGeorge Galloway meets friendsSalma Yaqoob and George Galloway at restaurantSalma Yaqoob and George Galloway at restaurantSalma Yaqoob and George Galloway at restaurantGeorge Galloway restaurant BirminghamSalma Iqbal and George GallowayGeorge Galloway and friendGeorge Galloway MP and friendGeorge Galloway and friendSalma Yaqoob and George Galloway MPGeorge Galloway MP and supportersNahim Ullah Khan and George Galloway MPGeorge Galloway and Paradise Restaurant owner

Images: Respect website

Birmingham Respect election campaign launched with 300-strong meeting

Birmingham Respect election launch
Birmingham Respect’s local election campaign has got off to a flying start. Around 300 people attended a launch rally with guest speaker George Galloway MP. Many people commented this was Respect’s best ever meeting in the city.

The candidates were particularly impressive. Salma Iqbal, a local women’s advise worker, spoke insightfully about the reality of poverty in Springfield ward, highlighting the gap in educational attainment and the lack of affordable housing.

Nahim Ullah Khan, the Sparkbrook candidate, emphasised unemployment, drugs, guns and gangs. Nahim is a youth worker with rich experience.

Birmingham Respect election launchHe has worked for the United Nations in continental Europe, Pakistan, Bosnia and Palestine on projects with communities and youth on issues such as health, identity, peace, xenophobia, Islamophobia.

Kings Heath and Moseley candidate Ray Gaston was very warmly received. Ray is a Christian priest who for 8 years served at All Hallows Church, a radical Christian community involved in interfaith dialogue, grassroots community action, asylum seeker support in Leeds and resistance to the ‘war on terror’.

He is now a full time postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham studying Christian-Muslim relations. Ray emphasised the need for a politics of solidarity.

Cllr Mohammed Ishtiaq outlined the difference Respect had made locally in Sparkbrook and local resident and neighbourhood forum activist Mary Mockbill, spoke how she had campaigned against Respect in the last local elections but was so impressed by the work of our councilors that she was going to campaign for us this May.

Birmingham Respect election launchMushtaq Hussain, who is becoming legendary in Respect for his campaigning skills and who came second last years election in Nechells ward, spoke in Urdu about his pride of being in a party with Salma Yaqoob and George Galloway.

Both of these were the final speakers and spoke with customary passion and eloquence, leaving the audience inspired for the electoral challenges ahead. Over £1,000 was raised in donations.

Report and images: Respect website