If you haven’t been following the news, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was in Lahore as a part of his #LondonIsOpen campaign which aims to show the world that London is “united and open for business.”
I had the fortune of being invited to a talk featuring the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, in Lahore
Initially, I thought about skipping the event. Our office is in DHA and me being the lazy piece of shit I am, I didn’t really want to drive all the way to Mall Road. Common sense prevailed and I made my way to the event, just a tad bit late but we can attribute that to the traffic on the way.
As I made my way into the hall, I noticed a trove of security personnel but not too many event attendees which actually got me a bit excited because I was hoping this was would be an intimate gathering that would allow for a dialogue.
By dialogue, I mean the opportunity to take multiple selfies so that I could upload the best one. To my dismay, as I made my way inside the hall, it turned out to be relatively full. Just my luck I guess, oh well.
In true Lahori fashion, the event that was supposed to start at 3:00 pm didn’t start at 3:00 pm.
So kudos to the organization team for making sure Sadiq Khan got the real Lahore experience. Not going to lie, it got pretty boring while waiting, especially since the event was full of socialites you’d see in Sunday Magazine and rich people watching is only fun for a little while.
But then everything changed when Drake showed up!!!
Now before you start with your fake news allegation, no that is not Drake. But you can’t argue the resemblance isn’t there, at least one person agreed with me on this.
Anyways, after Drake dropped an Urdu version of Hotline Bling, and the crowd calmed down, Sadiq Khan made his way to the stage.
I have to admit I didn’t know too much about Sadiq Khan before the event, except the SparkNotes version where he was the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, how he’d won the election beating Jemima Khan’s brother, why he was visiting Pakistan and, of course, the fact that he was the first Muslim mayor of London.
As he walked on to the stage, I couldn’t help notice how the way he carried himself, the way he walked, the way he sat down to take his seat or even the way he crossed his leg over, was very…oridinary. But his appearance would be the only thing ordinary about him.
He started off by trying to speak to the crowd in some very anglicized Urdu and a self-deprecating joke about the quality of his Urdu – instant crowd pleaser this one.
From there he moved on to talk about his love for London, where he grew up, of how he dealt with racism, how he won the election without bad-mouthing his opponent who had resorted to a smear campaign against him. Well aware of the audience, he made sure to have references to both Iqbal and Jinnah while also delivering a message of not only just interfaith harmony but of kinship between Pakistan and India. All within the span of one small talk. Oh, and then Sadiq Khan dropped a bomb that would trigger men all around the world.
“I’m a proud feminist.”
If you’re reading this and thinking that I’m romanticizing, trust me, I’m not. After all, there’s a reason why Sadiq Khan became the first Muslim mayor of London post-Brexit and amidst the spread of Trump’s America.
Oh also, before I move forward. There was a big surprise if you haven’t already noticed from the picture above – Shahid Khan, the richest Pakistani, showed up at the event too!
I must say, the man loves mustaches. He couldn’t stop complimenting each person he met with a good looking mustache. After the event, I tried to approach him to deliver a joke but he either ignored me or just thought I was a bumbling idiot.
Me: I moustache you a question
Sitting there at the event, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of envy. In Pakistan, we’re accustomed to seeing politicians that aren’t very humble in nature and thrive on divisive politics – you’re welcome to tune in to any news channel at night to witness immature debates of old men if you disagree. Contrast that with Sadiq Khan, who throughout the talk, spoke of inclusion, of not only respecting differences of other people but also celebrating them. His carefully chosen words were meant to aspire people to look within and strive to be better versions of themselves. Make no mistake, Sadiq Khan is not a Pakistani, even though many in Pakistan would like to think so. But looking at a man who looks very much Pakistani and says the things Sadiq Khan said, you can imagine why so many of us would wish he was. Can you wonder what would happen if our leaders aspired us to be more loving of people who had different religious or lifestyle beliefs as us, to be proud feminists, and to just good citizens striving to make our cities better? Sure made me wonder. Which is why it ignited a fire within me to do something I don’t normally do.
Go take a fucking selfie.
Oh, but I wasn’t the only one who had that idea. Everyone stormed to get a picture with Sadiq Khan, including students, celebrities and Ali Xeeshan who I still see wearing that cock over his head. I’m a fairly obsessive person so there was no way I was going to leave without getting a selfie. After all, this personal piece would be pretty incomplete without one. After being pushed and shoved, I got closer and closer. And just when I was about to do the deed, security comes in and gets ready to escort him out.
So, I decided to use the 6’3″ height God gave me and make the best of the situation. It’s not perfect but hey, there were a shit ton of people that didn’t get a selfie so, booya.
Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
What are your thoughts on Sadiq Khan?
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