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Ahmad 1st Asian in Scottish House

Bashir Ahmad is one of the four SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament Members elected from the Glasgow region.

world Updated: May 08, 2007 04:23 IST

Bashir Ahmad, an India-born businessman from Glasgow, has become the first Asian to be elected Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).

Ahmad was one of the four Scottish National Party (SNP) MSPs elected from the Glasgow region. A founder of the Scott Asians for Independence, he was born in India and raised in Pakistan.

The SNP emerged the single largest party with 47 seats in the Scottish Parliament followed by Labour with 46.

Ahmad has vowed to establish Muslim schools in Scotland and has already led a protest at a Catholic school in a bid to have it switch faiths. He said he was "very proud" to be elected as a Glasgow MSP at the third attempt.

He said after election results were announced: "I am over the moon. It has been a great night for the SNP." Ahmad follows in the footsteps of Labour party's Mohammed Sarwar, who became Britain's first Muslim MP when he won Glasgow Govan in 1997.

Ahmad and Sarwar have already clashed after Ahmad led a walk-out by Muslim pupils at St Albert's Roman Catholic Primary in Pollokshields, Glasgow.

The protest was labelled "extremist" by Father John Gannon, whose mass was disrupted when a dozen children left. Sarwar rejected claims that Muslim children had been forced to attend mass.

Ahmad came to Scotland when he was 21. After working as a bus conductor and driver he bought his own shop and expanded into more shops, restaurants and a hotel before his retirement.

He has been a member of the SNP's national executive committee since 1998 and became a councillor in 2003.