In a historic development, a Pakistani school teacher’s daughter Hina Bukhari, 45, has become the first-ever Muslim Pakistani female elected member of the London Assembly in what is being seen as a great moment of breaking the barriers.
Her achievement has one amazing coincidence as her father Syed Naz Bokhari, originally from Lahore, was London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s teacher and Britain’s first Muslim headteacher who inspired a whole generation of Pakistani and minority children to join politics.
While talking on a local news channel, she said that her relatives from Pakistan have been calling to congratulate her and express their pride.
“My relatives from Islamabad to Lahore to Karachi have been calling me over my election win. I feel a great deal of pride in the fact that I am the first-ever Muslim and a woman of Pakistani heritage to reach the London Assembly. This is a great moment for Pakistani and ethnic minority women. This has to happen.”Said Bukhari.
In the 2018 local bodies elections, Hina was the first Muslim woman elected as a Merton Council councilor. She has been working as a primary school teacher for the last 20 years and took time off from her teaching job to focus on her new demanding role.
Hina Bokhari will be holding Sadiq Khan accountable against the promises he made during the election campaign with around two dozen other London Assembly members.
“London Mayor’s job is very complicated but Sadiq Khan needs to do more for London. My job is to hold him accountable, to remind him about the promises he made about housing and jobs. I will question him and I hope he keeps his promises.”
Hina Bokhari said this was her father’s wish for her to do public service and leave a legacy behind for future generations.
“My father was the first Muslim and Pakistani head-teacher in Britain. I think he will be proud that his daughter has done it. He always taught me to give back to the community. He always said that it’s not what you have and what you do today but what you leave behind for the next generation. My dream is to fulfil my father’s dreams.”She said.
Hina Bokhari hopes that other women from ethnic minority backgrounds will take her election as a message of hope that “if I can do it, others can do it too.”
“I want to be able to give women the confidence to do it. My advice to women is don’t be deterred, be proud of who you are. I will ask Pakistani women to come forward and get involved and if I can help you, then please come to me. That’s the only way forward despite the adversity and the challenge.”Said Bokhari
Her 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter were a big part of her election campaign through delivering leaflets and filming videos for social media and she said that she has been making her kids listen to her speeches for local election campaigns.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey congratulated Bokhari on her appointment.
“Proud to see Hina Bokhari elected as a member of the Greater London Assembly today. Hina is the first Muslim woman to be elected to GLA.”He tweeted.
At the start of the London Assembly session, Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed Hina Bokhari and congratulated her on her election.
“It’s nice to see you and I feel proud. I knew your dad very well. He would be very proud. Congratulations.”He said.