Why the son of a Pakistani bus driver became London’s mayor

The British Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, who is of Pakistani origin, was recently elected mayor of London. It was a deserved win. Prior to announcing the result, monitoring stations said Khan was likely to win.

The son of a Pakistani bus driver, he has become mayor of the most important European capital, which has a significant imperial and civilized history.

He did not win because of his ethnicity or religion, but because he is British. There is no difference between Khan’s citizenship and that of any other Briton. He won the mayoral election in the context of state, citizenship and self-efficacy.

Khan’s victory represents a successful model for refugees and immigrants who go to Europe to live and settle

Turki Al-Dakhil

For over two decades, Europe has used creative theories and ideas to ripen the meaning of the state and the basis of citizenship. It has done so by making use of its illustrious legacy of the “social contract,” whereby one’s worth is measured by what he or she is, not what they were or what they were born with.


Khan’s victory represents a successful model for refugees and immigrants who go to Europe to live and settle. This victory shows them that European countries commit to strict rules and institutions, and that integration gives them a chance for equality. This integration and learning about true citizenship are achieved by committing to laws and regulations.

Being a Muslim son of a bus driver who emigrated from Pakistan did not prevent Khan proving that he is worthy of being mayor by popular vote. His success symbolizes belonging to the state, achieving citizenship and succeeding at integration.

This article was first published in Okaz on May 8, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
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