Open main menu

Bashir Ahmad (politician)

Bashir Ahmad (12 February 1940 – 6 February 2009) was a successful businessman and a Scottish National Party politician. He made history when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent the Glasgow region at the 2007 election, as the first MSP to be elected from Asian-Scots, Muslim and non-White backgrounds.[1]

Bashir Ahmad (Urdu: بشیراحمد)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
In office
3 May 2007 – 6 February 2009
Succeeded byAnne McLaughlin
Personal details
Born(1940-02-12)12 February 1940
Amritsar, British India
Died6 February 2009(2009-02-06) (aged 68)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party

Early lifeEdit

Ahmad was born in Amritsar, British India on 12 February 1940. In 1961, at the age of 21, he emigrated to Scotland from Pakistan.[2] He served five terms as President of the Pakistan Welfare Association.[3]

Political careerEdit

Flags outside of the Scottish Parliament flying at half-mast following the death of Bashir Ahmad MSP

Ahmnad joined the SNP in 1992. In 1995, he founded Asian Scots for Independence to attract more Asian-Scots to the party. When Bashir launched Scots Asians for Independence at the SNP conference in 1995, he gave a speech saying "it isn't important where you come from, what matters is where we are going together as a nation"[4]

He retired from business in 2003 to devote himself to politics. In 2003 Glasgow City Council election, he defeated Labour to become the Councillor for the Pollokshields East ward.

Upon his selection as second on the SNP's Glasgow list, Ahmad said: "The lack of any Asian or ethnic minority voice in the Scottish Parliament has been felt deeply in my community. But SNP members have righted that wrong. By doing so, they have proved that the SNP aspires to lead a Scottish Parliament that will represent all of Scotland – a truly national parliament. I firmly believe the SNP can now earn the trust of the Asian community throughout Scotland and that this will be a bond that endures for generations."[5]

During the 2007 elections, Ahmad was elected to the Scottish Parliament on the Glasgow regional list. He thus became the first non-white and first Muslim MSP.[6][7][8] On the opening day of the 3rd Scottish Parliament, he wore traditional Pakistani clothing and took his oath of office using both the Urdu and English language.[9][10]

Ahmad lead the bill on making forced marriages a criminal offence in Scotland and participated in a humanitarian campaign for Scottish hospitals to treat the most serious casualties of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, particularly women and children with life-threatening burns or other wounds.[4] He was a member of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee, which decides which action should be taken on petitions submitted by individuals, groups or organisations.[4]

Ahmad died of a heart attack on 6 February 2009 at the age of 68.[1] His funeral was held at the Glasgow Central Mosque and he was buried in Cathcart Cemetery.[11]

Family lifeEdit

Bashir is survived by his wife Naseem, their five daughters, two sons and 11 grandchildren.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Scotland's first Muslim MSP dies". BBC News. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  2. ^ Gilchrist, Jim (2 July 2007). "Keeping the Faith". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Scotland set for first Asian MSP". BBC News. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Davison, Phil (10 February 2009). "Bashir Ahmad". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Society: The race for Holyrood". The Herald. Glasgow. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  6. ^ "First Asian MSP goes to Holyrood". BBC News. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  7. ^ [1] Interview with The iWitness, Scotland's Muslim Newspaper
  8. ^ [2] BBC election report, Friday, 4 May 2007
  9. ^ Black, Andrew (9 May 2007). "MSPs at their best for ceremony". BBC News. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  10. ^ "New members sworn in at Holyrood". BBC News. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  11. ^ Cameron, Lucinda; Reeves, Sam (7 February 2009). "Politicians pay respects at funeral of MSP Ahmad". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  12. ^ Salmond, Alex (14 February 2009). "Bashir Ahmad: The Scottish Parliament's first Asian member". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 June 2018.