Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar

Mohammad Sarwar
محمد سرور
Sarwar in 2003
31st and 33rd Governor of Punjab
Assumed office
5 September 2018
President Arif Alvi
Prime Minister Imran Khan
Preceded by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi
In office
15 August 2013 – 29 January 2015
President Mamnoon Hussain
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood
Succeeded by Rafique Rajwana
Pakistani Senator from Punjab
In office
12 March 2018 – 4 September 2018
Constituency General Seat
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Central
Glasgow Govan (1997–2005)
In office
1 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Ian Davidson
Succeeded by Anas Sarwar
Majority 13,518 (48.2%)
Personal details
Born (1952-08-18) 18 August 1952 (age 68)
Pirmahal, Punjab, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
British (until 2013)
Political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (2015–present)
Other political
Pakistan Muslim League (N) (2012–2015)
Labour (UK) (until 2010)
Spouse(s) Perveen Sarwar
Children 3 sons, 1 daughter including Anas Sarwar
Alma mater University of Faisalabad

Mohammad Sarwar (Urdu: محمد سرور‎; born 18 August 1952) is a Pakistani and former British politician who currently serves as the 33rd Governor of Punjab,[n 1] in office since 5 September 2018. He is affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party[1] and was a member of the Senate of Pakistan from March 2018 until September 2018.[2] From 1997 to 2010 Sarwar was a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, representing a constituency in Glasgow, Scotland.

Born in Faisalabad, Sarwar moved to Scotland in 1976 and built up a chain of cash and carry stores.[3] Sarwar served as the Scottish Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central from 1997–2010 and retired from UK politics in 2010. During his tenure at Westminster, Sarwar served on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, and his youngest son Anas Sarwar served as MP for the same constituency from 2010–2015. He was the country's first Muslim Member of Parliament.[4]

He relinquished UK citizenship in July 2013[5] and became Governor of the Punjab,[6] representing the Pakistan Muslim League (N). He resigned from the position on 29 January 2015 after disagreeing with government foreign policy. He joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) on 10 February 2015.[7]

He was elected to the Senate of Pakistan in March 2018[8][9] and appointed Governor of Punjab on 8 August 2018.[10]

Early and family life

Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar was born to an Arain family in Sain De Khuie, a village near Faisalabad, Pakistan. The Arain tribe is ancient and traces its roots back to Arabian tribes who arrived in the indian subcontinent in the year 711A.D-712A.D with the invading army of ‘Muhammad bin qasim’ hence arain people are offspring of Arab soldiers.[11] In 1976 Sarwar moved to Scotland.[12] That year he married Perveen Sarwar, with whom he has three sons and one daughter.[4]

In 1982 Sarwar and his brother founded United Wholesale Grocers, a wholesale cash and carry business. In 2002 the brothers split the business, with Sarwar renaming his part as United Wholesale (Scotland) while his brother retained the previous name.[13][14]

His eldest son was accused of an £850,000 missing trader fraud in United Wholesale (Scotland) while he was managing director in 2003. In 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned his earlier conviction in 2007 for the fraud.[13][15][16] Mohammad Sarwar was a remunerated director of the company,[17][18] but never accused of involvement in the alleged fraud.

British political career

Sarwar first stood as a Labour councillor for Pollokshields East at the 1987 Glasgow City Council election, almost overturning a large Conservative majority. In the 1992 election he won the ward.[12]

Sarwar was elected as MP for Glasgow Govan at the 1997 general election, becoming the first Muslim MP in the United Kingdom and the first Asian MP elected to represent a Scottish constituency. He was the first MP to swear the Oath of Allegiance on the Qur'an, using the method laid out by the Oaths Act 1978.[19] Sarwar was suspended from holding office within the Labour Party in 1997 when he was charged with electoral offences,[20][21] but he was acquitted in 1999 and the suspension was lifted.[22]

He was re-elected in Glasgow Govan at the 2001 general election. The 2005 general election saw boundary changes in Scotland, so he stood at and won the new constituency of Glasgow Central. He faced an opponent from the far-right British National Party, with whom he refused to share a platform, and he persuaded other candidates to do the same. The returning officer announced the result from a platform with no candidates, and Sarwar later made a speech from the floor of the hall.

Sarwar became a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee from 2004, and was Chairman since 2005.[23]

In August 2006, he was a signatory to an open letter to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair criticising UK foreign policy.[24]

Sarwar played a crucial role in bringing to justice the killers of fifteen-year-old Glasgow schoolboy, Kriss Donald. The killers fled to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with the UK. Through his political connections, Sarwar was able to agree a one-off, no conditions attached, extradition treaty. They then faced trial and were convicted for the murder.[25]

On 21 June 2007, Sarwar announced he would not stand for re-election at the 2010 general election.[26] His son, Anas Sarwar, succeeded him as Labour MP for the Glasgow Central seat until the election of 2015 when it was taken by Alison Thewliss for the SNP.

In November 2008, Sarwar was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympic Games, saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage". The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.

His nomination by outgoing Prime Minister, Gordon Brown for a life peerage in the 2010 Dissolution Honours was blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission on the advice of HM Revenue and Customs.[27]

Pakistani political career

He played an important role in campaigning and fundraising in Britain for the centre-right conservative party Pakistan Muslim League (N) during the 2013 General election in Pakistan. Soon after Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister, he showed his intentions for becoming governor of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab.

On 5 August 2013, he was sworn in as the 31st Governor of Punjab.[28] As governor he criticised the government on a number of occasions. He fought the case of overseas Pakistanis whose houses and flats were confiscated by the land mafia in Pakistan but unable to redress their grievances successfully. On the occasion of Barack Obama's visit to India, he termed it as a failure of the government of Nawaz Sharif. These anti-government remarks led to his resignation.

He resigned as governor of Punjab on 29 January 2015.[2] On 8 February 2015, Sarwar joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).[29]

On 3 March 2018, Sarwar was elected to the Senate of Pakistan on a general seat from Punjab after receiving 44 first priority and two second priority votes in the senate elections of that year.[30]

On 5 September 2018 Sarwar took oath as 33rd Governor of Punjab.[31][32][33]

Personal life

Sarwar is a supporter of Glasgow football teams Celtic[34] and Rangers.[34]