Baroness Sayeeda Warsi Named U.K. Minister and Tory Party Chairwoman

Posted on May 16, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Pakistanis Abroad, People, Women
24 Comments
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Adil Najam

David Cameron, the new Conservative Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has named 39-year old, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi of Dewsbury whose family hails from Gujjar Khan, Pakistan, as a Minister without portfolio (at this time) in and UK Cabinet and as Chairwoman of the Conservative Party.

Lady Warsi becomes the first Muslim woman and the first woman of Pakistani origin to hold a UK cabinet position. Although she is not the first Pakistani to hold a UK cabinet position, she is certainly the highest profile Pakistani to do so.

Another Briton of Pakistani descent, Sadiq Khan, had earned the distinction of being the first Pakistani and Muslim in a U.K. cabinet as Gordon Brown’s Minister of State for Transport. Earlier, Shahid Malik – who had defeated her for her hometown Dewsbury, Yorkshire, sear in 2005 – was selected in 2007 as Gordon Brown’s under-secretary of state for international development (which, although not a cabinet position, is a significant and high position in the UK government. Although never elected to office by a direct vote, Lady Warsi is a Life Peer in 2007.

According to a report in Dawn:

In Pakistan, a country where many fear they are being stigmatised as “terrorists”, people are jubilant over her appointment.

Born into a modest family which migrated from Pakistan’s central town of Gujjar Khan to Britain in the 1960s, Warsi has been involved in politics since her college days. Newspapers prominently published photos of Warsi standing in front of 10 Downing Street and television channels interviewed her proud relatives and family friends in Gujjar Khan. Warsi runs five vocational training centres for orphaned girls in villages near Gujjar Khan through a women’s charity. Cameron visited Gujjar Khan with her in 2008. “We feel proud that she is from us,” said Hina Shaukat, a student in a vocational training centre in Bewal village near Gujjar Khan. Eight girls sat around her, busily sewing.

According to a post in the Dewsbury Reporter:

Baroness Warsi said she was ‘hugely privileged and deeply humbled’ by her appointment as Conservative Party chairwoman and minister without portfolio. She said: “The main role which David Cameron has asked me to do will be operating a central office, making sure voluntary parties and new MPs are supported, and campaigning. Over the last three years I’ve been to more target seats than any member of the shadow cabinet apart from David, and I was with him on the marathon 36-hour final leg of the campaign.”

Earlier in 2009, Baroness Sayeeda Wasti had been named the most influencial Muslim woman in Britian in 2009:

In a news report headlined “Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi brightens up Downing Street” the British Daily The Telegraph writes:

Baroness Warsi posed in Downing Street in traditional dress after the coalition Cabinet’s historic first meeting. After gamely removing her coat at the request of photographers and hanging it on a railing, the former solicitor, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, said: “To be born as the daughter of an immigrant mill worker in a mill town in Yorkshire, to have the privilege of serving in Cabinet at such an important time in Britain’s history, I think it is terribly humbling.”

Lady Warsi’s pink shalwar kameez was in sharp contrast to the dark suits sported by most of the other, predominantly male, Cabinet members. Like many of the new ministers, she described yesterday’s meeting as “very constructive”. “There was a great amount of goodwill around the table. There’s lots of hard work to do and some serious decisions to be taken,” she added. Lady Warsi, 39, the former shadow minister for community cohesion, is the new chairman of the Tory Party, replacing Eric Pickles, who became local government secretary.

24 responses to “Baroness Sayeeda Warsi Named U.K. Minister and Tory Party Chairwoman”

  1. Naveed Abbas says:

    Congratulations indeed Sayeeda Warsi

    You make us (Pakistanis) Proud.

    What a great achievement. You deserve a lifetime of beautiful tomorrow.

    Pls pray for a peaceful and prosperous Pak

    Regards

  2. Mobitunes Codes says:

    Good lady .and i think will be a appionted at marit.

  3. Dil Sooz says:

    Congrats. Baroness Warsi. Interestingly when she was being selected for her coveted position in UK cabinet I was visiting Woking Mosque near London UK. I visited it’s affiliated muslim graveyard and offered Fateha at grave of 1st member of House of Lords -Lord Omar Bashir Headley who accepted Islam at the hand of Khawaja Kamaluddin in 1913.
    Here is the link:
    http://www.wokingmuslim.org/pers/headley.htm

  4. Rashid Ali says:

    Congratulations indeed to Baroness Warsi. There have been dramatic changes for the better in race relations in Britain in the last 40 years. There is still biggotry at certain levels but British have generally demonstrtaed a great tolerence for Asians who were not only different in clour but significantly different in culture and religion. I wish our nation can learn such tolerence.

  5. Imran Ali says:

    Baroness Warsi’s elevation to the British Cabinet illustrates the extent to which multiculturalism permeates contemporary British society and is a great symbol for my country of Britain.

    However, Warsi is just that – only a symbol. With no legislative or democratic achievements to her name and an *unelected* member of the House of Lords, she has arrived at this position simply by being brown and not through any significant achievement.

    Warsi is not representative of the British electorate. Indeed, she was rejected at the ballot box at the 2005 election. She is at once a symbol of all that’s Great about Britain and all that’s rotten.

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