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Lord Wajid Khan: Who was youngest serving Mayor of Burnley

Interview:
Wajahat Ali Khan

“Aims” conducted a detailed interview with the Lord Wajid Khan. Aims is also pleased to interview with Khan who was appointed member of the House of Lords in December 2020 by HM Queen Elizabeth, having been nominated by leader of Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer. We speak to him about his early life, his career development, and his entry to politics. Wajid also gave valuable advice to youngsters on how to lead a successful working and professional life, the details of which is given to the readers.

Wajid Khan was appointed to the House of Lords in December 2020 by HM Queen Elizabeth upon the advice of Prime Minister, having been nominated by Sir Keir Starmer. Wajid is currently the youngest serving Mayor of Burnley. Wajid Khan served as the MEP for the North West of England from 2017-2019. In the European Parliament, he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Subcommittee as well as sitting on the South Asia and Arab Peninsula. In November 2017, Wajid was appointed a Special Envoy to Muslim Communities for the S & D Group in the European Parliament. He was the spokesperson for the Labour party on human rights. Wajid also served on the National Policy Forum and International Policy Commission for the Labour Party, contributing towards the excellent election manifesto in the June 2017 General Election. Wajid is also Alumni of the prestigious Oxford Young leadership programme in July 2007 and the 2009 Mosaic International Leadership School, both initiatives of HRH Prince Charles on leadership and community engagement.
He has also completed a strategic Leadership programme at Bramshill Police College with the National Police Federation. Wajid has directed International Youth Leadership Conferences in Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Cyprus and Oman since 2010His work in the European Parliament includes campaigning and securing a historic hearing on the human rights abuses in Kashmir, negotiating emergency human rights resolution on Iran, Burma and Syria as well working as working as the Rapporteur on the defence of academic freedom across Europe.
Q) From 2017 to 2019, you served as a member of European Parliament for the North West of England, so what is your opinion about Brexit that was UK in good position then or now?
A) I campaigned against Brexit as I believe it was economic suicide to leave a market of 600 million. UK is now facing lots of problems and an issue with the Irish border. This could lead to a breakup of the UK Union. I am a pro-European and believe the next generation will campaign to join the EU.
Q) Tell us about your early life, what part of Pakistan your parents belong to?
A) My parents hail from Tehsil Kharian in District Gujrat. The village is called Baddo. Early life that my father was a taxi driver and mom was a housewife. I am the youngest of my 5 brothers and sisters. My first election was won as a student Councillor at college.
Q) Are you satisfied with the number of Pakistani origin members in the Parliament? Also tell us about How strongly Pakistanis / Kashmiris are playing their part in UK in all walks of life?
A) There are Pakistani and Kashmiri parliamentarians both in the House of Commons and Lords in different parties. Things have improved so much but there should not be limitations. We should always promote more and more people from minority backgrounds to stand for parliament. These communities are now doing well in multiple walks of life.
Q) Can you please enlighten our readers, is it true that our people in the north of the UK are more involved in drug and other crimes then in other areas?
A) There is no evidence of this. Pakistani and Kashmiri children are suffering from lower investment in the North as are other communities. This has a knock-on effect. Every community has challenges. For. Example knife crime is high in the cities whereas in Northern towns this is not the issue. Communities are closer in the North.
Q) Can peoples of Pakistan’s many problems solved by creating a local government system like UK? Also tell us, what is the real cause of instability of Pakistani politics?
A) Absolutely. General Musharraf did some food work on devolution. If we have strong locally devolved structured, it will be bringing local communities closer to the decision making. Pakistan should module their system on the UK but in a.one tier clear system. Pakistan should host a conference on this is Wajid is an alumnus of both of HRH Prince Charles’ leadership initiatives. The Mosaic international Leadership Programme as well as the Oxford Young Muslim Leadership Programme.
Khan was included in Labour’s eight-person shortlist for the 2014 European Parliament election.[6] He took over the North West England seat in July 2017, replacing Afzal Khan who was elected as a Member of Parliament in the general election. sue and invite Pakistani background councillors to visit and talk about their understanding.
Q) How you are hopeful about your political Party’s future as labour is well behind from Tory Party?
A) We are behind now but in politics it does not have long for things to change. It is true my party is behind and have a lot of ground to cover. But we are working very hard to achieve this.
Q) Before becoming MEP, you were a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire for many years, how and what is the difference between the two?
A) I was a senior lecturer in Community Leadership. As a MEP I was practically doing the job as a community leader in politics. Academic life is more peaceful and relaxing.

Background & Work prior to becoming MEP

In 2002, Wajid graduated in Law from UCLan. He then worked in the voluntary sector with young offenders, gaining qualifications in advice and guidance as well as mentoring, and teaching homeless young people numeracy and literacy. In 2004, he completed a Masters in European Law. During this, inspired by the race riots in Burnley in 2001, he initiated several projects involving community cohesion, including the Corrymeela project in Northern Ireland, through which his role gained him a National Cohesion Award in 2004 as well the university student volunteer of the year. Whilst studying for his master’s degree, Wajid worked as a taxi driver to fund his studies. In October 2005, he lectured in Community Leadership. Wajid co-wrote the BA (Hons) Community Leadership, which was validated in May 2006. In September 2006, he was appointed course leader of this programme. He has presented academic papers across Europe at Volunteurope conferences in Berlin, Strasbourg, Warsaw and Genoa. In June 2006, he advised the Russian Ministry of Education and Science on developing youth strategies and was invited to the Civil G8 in Moscow where he introduced proposals, which were later discussed at the G8 Summit. In October 2006, Wajid was appointed to the Executive Board of Directors of Volunteurope where he served until 2013.
Wajid became local Councillor after a landslide victory in the local elections, on the 3rd of May 2007 in the Daneshouse & Stoneyholme ward in Burnley, Lancashire. He was re-elected in 2011 with an increased majority and further won the 2015 election unopposed. He won the 2019 local election with 90% of the vote share. He served as a Cabinet Member for finance from May 2015 until May 2017. Wajid is currently the deputy mayor of Burnley. In May 2008, Wajid co-wrote the pioneering foundation degree in community Leadership, based initially in a community setting in Burnley. The degree engaged South Asian females academically in a manner, which has never been achieved nationally. Wajid Currently works as a senior lecturer and course leads the Masters in Community Leadership programme.

Biography – Wajid Khan

• Wajid Khan served as the MEP for the North West of England from 2017-2019. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Human Rights Committee as well as the South Asia and Arab Peninsula Delegations
• Wajid currently serves as the Mayor of Burnley & works as a senior lecturer and course leads the Masters in Community Leadership.
• Wajid was appointed a Special Envoy to Muslim Communities for the S&D Group in the European Parliament
• He was the spokesperson for the Labour party on human rights in the EP
• In 2002, Wajid graduated in Law from UCLan.
• In 2004, he completed a Masters in European Law.
• Whilst studying for his Master’s, Wajid worked as a taxi driver to fund his studies.
• Wajid has been given a national award in Social and Community Cohesion by the Higher Education Community Fund in 2005.
• In October 2006, Wajid was appointed to the Executive Board of jDirectors of Volunteurope where he served until 2013.
• Wajid has served a local councillor for 14 years in Burnley Council.
• He served as a Cabinet Member as well as serving as the Deputy Mayor
• In May 2008, Wajid co-wrote the pioneering foundation degree and BA (Hons) in community Leadership.
Wajid is also an Alumni of the prestigious Oxford Young Muslim leadership programme in July 2007 and the 2009 Mosaic International Leadership School, both initiatives of HRH Prince Charles.
• Wajid also served on the National Policy Forum and International Policy Commission for the Labour Party from 2015 – 2018.
• In March 2019, Wajid was awarded the highest civilian award by the
Government of Pakistan for his international work on human rights.
• Wajid has directed International Leadership Conferences in USA, Turkey, Pakistan, Oman and Cyprus on behalf of UCLan (University).
• Wajid is Married with two children and has lived in Burnley all his life.

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