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Khan Campaign gathers momentum

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Asian Lite’s Anjana Parikh looks in to the campaign of North-West’s most popular Asian politician

 

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Labour MEP candidates Cllr Afzal Khan and Theresa Griffin with Labour Leader Ed Miliband in Manchester
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Labour MEP candidates with Ed Miliband

Afzal teamAfzal Khan, the first Asian Lord Mayor of Manchester, is creating ripples in the North West EU elections, as the campaign enters the final phase.

Mr Khan, a professional solicitor turned politician, has visited several community centres and Asian forums seeking votes.

Brought up in Lancashire after coming to the UK aged 11, Cllr Khan left school with no qualifications and worked as a labourer in a mill before returning to education. He then spent three years as a police officer with Greater Manchester Police before going on to study law and qualifying as a solicitor.

In an exclusive interview with Asian Lite, Khan with a track record of 25-year public services, promises that he will make sure to work to reduce the “disparity” and the “wide gap” between the north and south of Britain.

Cllr Khan, who’s one of the eight North West Labour MEP candidates, said: “I will work as a team and elevate the living standard of the people and work to create more job and business opportunities for the development of the North West.”

Taking Manchester as an example, the former Lord Mayor, said: “If we were dealt the average cuts like the rest of the country, we would have been £1 million better off every week; this is the scale of unfairness that the people of the North West are facing today.”

Also, the 52 – year-old leader has vowed to strongly take on both the BNP’s Nick Griffin and UKIP. Cllr Khan said, “It was to our shame that since 2009, Griffing has done nothing to help the struggling people of the North West and has instead abused his position in the EU to spread his message of hate and spread poison against the BME community in Europe. As a Labour candidate for this year’s EU elections, I will be campaigning hard to ensure we defeat Nick Griffin and to replace his message of hate and division with one of peace, togetherness and hope.”

Alleging the BNP for spreading violence against the BME community, he said, “It’s a proven fact that whenever there’s activity on the far-right, whether at the council or at a higher level, you find that aggressions and violence against minority communities increase. We’ve seen during the 9/11 attacks how innocent Asians were targeted. We have to ensure that people belonging to the far-right shouldn’t have a foothold – because if they have, they will use the voice they have to spread poison and violence in the community, creating fear and havoc.”

His top most priority will be to revive the economy of the region, create more opportunities so that the community gets a “fair share of the growth”. Referring to the global recession which didn’t spare Britain even, he said, “It has been quite difficult in the last few years with the banking crisis and there has been a melt-down and recession at the global level which has hit us hard. Therefore, the top priority for us would be to turn the economy around. We’ve seen some good signs but there’s still a long way to go.

“The family purse has been squeezed, and we need to eliminate this and ensure growth. With growth and opportunities, we also need to make sure that our community gets their fair share of that growth.”

With a promise to use his 25 years of community experience to lead the charge against the Far Right, Cllr Khan stated that “As the youth of this generation have been severely hit by the recession more than their fathers and forefathers, we need to provide better resources, education and employment for the young people”.

Having been actively involved in community rights from a young age, Cllr Khan’s said, “We have to make sure that the EU works for the people of the North-West and helps businessmen so that the global market opens up to us also”, he added.

He applauded the BME or the Asian community for their contribution towards Britain, and insisted that more glass-ceilings need to be broken.

Cllr Khan, who has also worked as a lead member for racial equality and assistant executive member for finance, said: “As a BME or an Asian community, we’ve made a large contribution for the betterment of ourselves and for Britain as well. We need to be proud of the achievement but the sky is the limit. We need to break more glass ceilings and achieve greater heights. We can do things only when we have a position which then translates into tremendous force and inspiration,” he stressed.

 

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