London mayor Sadiq Khan praises Geo News role during election campaign

London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks to Geo News. — Author
  • Geo News countered fake news with objectivity, facts: Sadiq Khan. 
  • Mayor-elect thanks PM Shehbaz and FM Dar for congratulating. 
  • The London mayor appeals to Muslims to fight Islamophobia.

LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has praised the outstanding coverage by Geo News of London mayoral elections — crediting the channel with fighting racism, Islamophobia and fake news.

In his first interview with any Pakistani broadcaster after his historic third term win, Khan said that during the election canvassing, people told him they had seen his re-election campaign on Geo News platforms.

The Labour incumbent won a historic third term at the polls last week, becoming the first London mayor to do so, with a majority of some 275,000 over Conservative rival Susan Hall.

“There was a lot of hate and fake news about me in this election campaign. I know Geo News reaches the bedrooms of people through all its mediums. It teaches people and makes them aware of the issues. When I went on door knocking during the campaign, people told me what Geo News was putting out,” Khan told this correspondent. 

“It’s very important in this age of fake news that we counter the fake news. I want to thank the decent journalists who call out racism, hate and Islamophobia. I am thankful for the support of your viewers and today I am the Mayor of the world’s greatest city,” he added. 

Khan also thanked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar for their posts on X, formerly Twitter, congratulating him on the win.

“Congratulations to @SadiqKhan on completing the hat-trick of becoming the Mayor of London! The proud son of a hardworking British Pakistani has made every Pakistani proud, not just his parents. Being elected as the Mayor of London for the third time is a testament to Sadiq Khan’s ability and public service. Wishing @SadiqKhan more success in the future!,” the premier had written on X. 

Meanwhile, FM Dar said: “Felicitations to @SadiqKhan on his re-election as the Mayor of London. I wish him every success as he continues his onward march to serve the people of London with dedication & distinction!”

Khan said he was aware that the prayers of millions of Pakistanis were with him. 

“My family originates from Pakistan. I am thankful and proud that Pakistanis were praying for me. The good thing is Pakistanis in the UK supported me through fundraising, canvassing and campaigning. 

“We are proud that our relationship will further strengthen. We want to show to the world that you can be of Pakistani origin, you can be Muslim and law-abiding and a peaceful human being. There is a lot of anti-Pakistan prejudice, there is negativity about Pakistan, [and] that’s dangerous. I am thankful to all the Londoners who prayed for me and voted for me,” he said.

Khan told Geo News that the first generation Asians like his father worked hard and enabled their children to get the education and be successful. 

“If we are successful today it’s because of our parents who came from South Asia and worked so hard. We love our diversity. In London, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, and others live together and respect each other. We must remember that we are successful because we are united,” he said. 

Khan appealed to Muslims and Pakistanis to counter Islamophobia and bigotry by joining mainstream politics. 

The London mayor said he was aware there is a lot of hate and bias against him on social media and far-right groups hate him. He said the answer to battling these issues is to join mainstream politics and integrate.

“Don’t be scared and intimidated. The far-right wants to scare us, to dissuade us from mainstream politics. They want to tell us we cannot become mayors and councillors and lawmakers. This is a deliberate strategy. Don’t listen to them. We can become what we want. Look, I am the Mayor of London. If you work hard you can become a doctor, lawyer, politician and journalist.”

On Tuesday, Khan began his third term as London Mayor with a pledge to make the capital the best city in the world to grow up in — and a tribute to his Pakistani parents, who faced hostilities when they first arrived in the city which now has Khan as its mayor for a historical third term.

Speaking at a declaration of office ceremony held in the Tate Modern, Mr Khan set out his stall for the capital’s young people and nightlife.

He told the audience about his Pakistani father, a bus driver, who faced racism and hate. Yet, Khan said London was the greatest city on the earth because just a generation later the same city made him the mayor and went on to re-elect him thrice.

“My Pakistani bus driver father served London. He was a proud Londoner. When he arrived here from Pakistan, he was met with signboards in shops and guest houses that read ’No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’. 

“My father was not white. And yet one generation on, thanks to the struggle and sacrifice of so many, his son, the child of immigrants of Pakistani origin, Asian heritage and Islamic faith, has been able to go from a South London council estate to become mayor of the city he adored.

“And not only that but won re-election, not once but twice. And that’s a reminder to everyone to know why London is special, the city of pluralism.”

Accompanied by his wife and two daughters, Khan added: “My name is Sadiq Khan and I am still the Mayor of London.”

Khan said he wants to make free school meals permanent in London’s state primary schools, fund more youth clubs and mental health support, as well as invest in high-quality mentoring.

The mayor said he was proud that his campaign of positivity was able to overcome what he considered to be divisive and dishonest Tory tactics.

“We had a Conservative candidate whose campaign was extremely negative, somebody who was spreading misinformation, fake information and lies, so we had to respond and rebut that at the same time as trying to put forward a positive vision for our city – a fairer, greener, safer London. I’m really proud that this city has rewarded that positive campaign and rejected the Conservative campaign,” he concluded. 

Leave a Comment