By Atiya Riffat
A British Pakistani councilor has taken the oath and made history by becoming youngest mayor of the historic English city of Worcester.
Councillor Jabbar Riaz, 40, who was also the deputy mayor of the city in 2017/18 was elected for the third consecutive term successfully after defending his seat representing Labour party from Cathedral ward in the recent local elections.
Cllr Riaz, whose family is originally from Dadyal, Azad Kashmir, is also the second British Pakistani to be elected as the mayor of Worcester. Cllr Allah Ditta of Conservative party was the first British Pakistani mayor of this city back in 2004.
Cllr Riaz also started his political career with the Conservative party and was elected as a councilor from Cathedral ward for the first time in 2010.
But in 2013 he left Tories for the Labour party due to the policies of the central government of then PM David Cameron. After a tough battle in 2014 local elections, he succeeded again but this time as a Labour councilor with a slim majority of just 198 votes.
In 2017, Cllr Riaz resigned from the cabinet where he was in charge of leisure services due to family commitments. In these elections, Cllr Riaz won again from Cathedral ward by beating fellow Pakistani Nida Hassan, who was representing Conservative party but with a much clearer majority of 292 votes.
Cllr Riaz in his maiden speech as the new mayor of Worcester said that he feels proud and humbled. He thanked the residents of his ward, friends, family and especially his parents and wife who not only voted for him but also supported him through the election period.
As the mayor, he represents the whole city and he is grateful to Almighty Allah for honoring him with this position.
The Mayoral oath-taking ceremony took place in city’s historic Guildhall during a full council meeting, which was attended by the fellow councilors, family, and friends along with other members of the public.