Tag Archives: Glasgow

Scots Asians for Independence for YES Launch this Sunday 22 September 2013


 Yes Scotland call for minority communities to be at forefront of independence campaign

– Sunday launch for Scots Asians for Independence –

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh will tell an audience at Glasgow’s Langside Halls that she believes her children will have a better life in an independent Scotland and that Scots Asians can play an important role in the campaign (Sunday).

The Yes Scotland advisory board member will be joined by Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf to discuss the benefits of independence and the important role to be played by Scots Asians in the referendum debate.

With less than a year to go to the 2014 vote, the panel are aiming to convince undecideds and unsettled No’s that decisions made on Scotland’s future, are best made by those who live here and make up our culturally rich communities.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a former actress and chair of Scottish Women‘s Asian Association said: ‘I believe it’s time to take Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands so that we can build a Nation which works for all of us.

I want women and Scotland’s minority communities, to be front and centre in this debate.  And I want to play my part in persuading other women and members of my community, that not only is an independent Scotland possible, it’s the best and only opportunity we have to realise our hopes and our dreams for our families and our country.

A country where we value investment in people and investment in society. A country that reaches out to young people, who are interested in the dreams of the future, not the memories of the past. A country where there is provision for the most vulnerable in society.

I believe my four children and your children and grandchildren, will have a better life, and enjoy a better and more equal society, in an independent Scotland, caring for each other and their fellow citizens. That is a Scotland I want to live in, and my children to grow up in. Let’s work together, to make it happen.

Scots Asians for Independence is one of several sectoral groups set-up to ensure that Scotland’s culturally-rich and talented people can play a role in winning and shaping and independent Scotland.

Humza Yousaf, a Glasgow MSP and Scottish Government minister, said: Thousands of people have come from across the world to make Scotland their home, having their voice in the most important discussion our nation has ever had is vital.


Scotland’s BME communities have contributed for decades to the success of our country. As the late and great Bashir Ahmed often said it doesn’t matter where you come from it is where we go together as a Nation. I have no doubt that all the communities of Scotland regardless of race, religion or background will see that through independence we can have a fairer and more prosperous Scotland and will vote yes in 2014.’

Toni Giugliano, Yes Scotland’s sectoral groups advisor: ‘Over the year ahead Yes Scotland will continue working closely with every sector of Scottish society so that all Scots engage in the referendum debate and become aware of the benefits of independence.’ 


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Scots Asians For Yes – Lets build a Scotland for the future of all our children

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday was a hot summer’s day with the thermometer in some places within Glasgow hitting a high of 27 degrees Celsius. The SAFY team set up the stall with the majority of the members fasting as it was the 4th day of the Islamic month of Ramadhan, to any other member of the public it was 13th July. 

It was a really good day as there were many people out shopping and there was a lot of interest in our stall perched on the pavement opposite Spice Gardens on Albert Drive in Pollokshields. Toni Giugliano managed to persuade an individual who was a definite no, to a very probable yes in TEN minutes using a factual argument. Having such a high calibre of Yes Advisors such as Toni and Tasmina Sheikh, Abdul Majid, Tahir Mohammed, Madni and our secret weapon, Makki Tahir, we refused to take no for an answer!

A high number of activists joined us for the first time such as Ghazala Ahmed, and again we were very lucky as they were mentored by the more experienced members of the team as they leafleted and canvassed on Albert Drive, Maxwell Road and the adjoining streets. It was also good to have Councillor Norman MacLeod join us as an opportunity to have an open air surgery and to talk to his constituents about any issues that they felt needed to be given a higher priority by the city council.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of the photos from today that capture the team, and some of the cutest children that visited our stall and were so enthusiastic in wanting to be part of the photograph and the YES campaign.



Post by Nighet Riaz


Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES, Yes Pollokshields

Scots Asians For Independence Event

A very successful fundraising event took place at the Kabana Function Suite, Seaward Street, Glasgow on Sunday evening. We had safyexcellent speakers and great food. It was organised by Mr Majid, the convenor of Scots Asians For Independence in conjunction with Yes Scotland.

There were over 300 guests from all over Scotland who came together to hear how important it was that we all engage in open discussions on how independence can benefit us on every level of society, from families, communities, businesses, education, healthcare and welfare.

People from Africa, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Eastern Europe, Iraq, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, from all religious backgrounds and none came together to listen to Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, Denis Canavan, Tasmina Sheikh and Humza Yousaf.
humzatasWe had a film crew from the European channel ARTE who filmed the event and loved the vibe of having so many different communities and cultures under one roof, all discussing the one subject – independence. When the film team arrived in Scotland 2 weeks earlier they had been sceptical but they spend the time talking to people on both sides of the debate and in the end they left convinced that for Scotland to be independent was the only choice to allow our country to succeed and flourish. 

Picture of Minister for International Development and External Affairs with Yes Advisory Board member and SNP European candidate Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh.

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A lesson in Independence – Munawar Yousaf

I am now in my sixties, but I was just a young lad of 12 when I came to Scotland from a small town near the city of Multan in Pakistan. Munawar_Yousaf_1Obviously it was a huge change of culture and environment, but the local kids were very friendly, and it didn’t take long for me to settle in to life in Glasgow.

My mother had high aspirations for all her children and she was constantly urging us to do our best.

I took on at an early age the idea that if something is worth doing you should do it well and in doing so raise the benchmark for yourself and for others. I think her  influence was key in my decision to  become a civil engineer, then 28 years ago when I was made redundant to join forces with my younger brother and set up our accountancy firm Yousaf and Co.

But there were other important guides in my life at that time, and one in particular I shall never forget. My Maths teacher at Bellahouston Academy, was an Englishman who had moved north of the border to teach. He believed passionately that Scotland should be an independent country, and that passion transferred to me, and many of his pupils.

Looking to inequalities in other parts of the world, he believed that if resources such as tea, coffee, iron, gold and diamonds were processed in the countries of production, those nations would not still be classed as third world countries.  And he felt very strongly that the people of Scotland were being denied control of their own natural resources such as its oil fields, fishing and shipbuilding industries.

In discussing this unfairness and disadvantage with his pupils, he allowed us to develop a much larger world picuture than the view we received from our sanitised history books.

Being a Scottish independence supporter from Pakistan wasn’t exactly common back then. Most people of the Pakistani community living in Scotland at that time were staunch Labour supporters. But my sibilings and I saw that someone born and bred in England, like my maths teacher, could consider himself Scottish, and we asked ourselves why can’t a Pakistani born person who lives in Scotland consider himself Scottish too? My support for an independent Scotland has never wavered since that time.

I’ve always felt there is an imbalance in the way Scotland has been treated by successive Westminster Governments. In the 1970s I saw the steel making factories moved from Central Scotland to Sheffield, the car manufacturers shut in Linwood, coal factories closed and the ship building industries decimated. Then in the 1980s, the effect of the Thatcher years, where Scotland witnessed some of the worst unemployment this country has seen, are being felt even today.

I have now lived in Scotland for 48 years, this is my home and where my loyalties lie. I want decisions that affect my children, and future grandchildren, to be made by them and the rest of the people of Scotland, not some distant Government they cannot relate to.

I look to countries such as many of those in Scandinavia with small populations and see how well they’ve done since becoming independent.  Being a small country actually gives us specific advantages over our larger neighbour.

A smaller population means developing services and putting beneficial ideas into practice will be, in many ways, much more manageable.  In an independent Scotland we will be able to roll out services quickly ensuring the people who need them the most getting priority.

The advantages of being able to make our own decisions on every level, is the greatest benefit for an independent Scotland.  A country run by the people of Scotland for the people of Scotland. It’s time.


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Irfan Rabbani shares his views on the importance of self determination

Irfan Rabbani, is a former Glasgow City Councillor and is Chair of The Hidden Gardens. He also doubles as a football coach with Glasgow ANSAR.irfanrabbani (1)
Irfan discusses why he is passionate about the right to self- determine his future and the future of the people of Scotland.
He speaks candidly about his background and family life where his father is the patriarch of the family.

Mr Rabbani Senior is immensely respected and a pioneer from amongst the earliest Pakistani immigrant community in Glasgow. He has commanded loyalty and respect based on the wide relationships he has formed and for working selflessly for the betterment of the wider community. He is the role model Irfan aspires to. Irfan has a strong bond with his father who has always challenged him to realise his potential whether it was in business with him or later in politics.

You may understand my surprise when Irfan proudly mentions that he has three grown up children and is a proud grandfather to another three, as he himself is a very young looking fifty year old. He speaks with great joy of his three children. His eldest graduated with an accountancy degree and is now a successful businessman, married with a daughter.  Irfan’s daughter is a homemaker and busy mum of two boys, whilst his youngest son is a Law graduate. He is at a stage in his life where he is content and enjoying his family and  working actively to help achieve independence for Scotland.

Mr Rabbani Senior and his family came to Glasgow in 1962 from Pakistan when Irfan was five months old. He has lived, been schooled in, and worked all his life in Pollokshields, in the southside of Glasgow.   It is therefore not surprising to know why he is such a passionate advocate for a progressive Pollokshields and the wonderfully diverse community is something which is very dear to his heart.

He has happy memories of Pollokshields Primary School and then studying at Bellahouston Academy. Post education due to his father’s ill health, Irfan followed him into the family business, even though he felt his own strengths lay elsewhere.

Belatedly he took an opportunity to pursue his passion of working with people in the late 1980’s with the Social Work Department in Glasgow. Working with people with mental health issues required great sensitivity and understanding. Later Irfan facilitated in the process of helping people integrate back into the community as long stay institutions such as Lennox Castle Hospital closed.

He believed strongly in assisting people take ownership of their own lives, make their own decisions, contrasting with the isolation and stigma they had previously endured in such institutions.

He has worked tirelessly with service providers to engage disaffected young people through mediums such as sport to draw youngsters to education and training, helping them find jobs and increasing their confidence and self- worth.

His passion in communities was ignited when he saw the destructive, demoralising aftermath suffered by communities when traditional industries such as steel, car making, mining were decimated by the actions of the Conservative Government, now known infamously as the Thatcher years throughout Scotland.

“We are still trying to recover from that crippling legacy a generation later….”

Irfan ran summer camps during the school holidays for children aged five to eight, and eight to fifteen years old. Parents were actively involved in their child’s wellbeing through interaction at the end of a day writing up their child’s holiday diary. This allowed conversations to take place with their children and raised awareness of what was being offered at the camps and ensured active parental participation.

In 2007, he became a somewhat initially reluctant politician. He has a great affinity with young people, who encouraged him to stand and were his staunchest allies along with his father and son, in pushing him forward to electoral victory as a councillor in Pollokshields.

His campaign became a catalyst for young people to take ownership and showed the positive power that they bring to affect change. They saw in him someone who would listen, understand and encourage change and help with the process for young people to gain a voice.

He never needed until now to vocalise that quiet inner voice that wanted the best for his community, for Glasgow, for Scotland, but has shown this through his actions and work in the community.

“I have become more and more disillusioned by how the people of Scotland’s wishes are ignored at Westminster, where they are consistently dismissive of our views and opinions. This has to change.”

Irfan sees the positives of devolution for Scotland and feels strongly that these positives can only be enhanced further by independence. As a lad he kicked a football around the streets of Glasgow, and its where all his family still live. Scotland is his home. The passion is sincere and clear when he says

“Let Scotland move forward to independence, let us make our own choices, drive our own successes, realise our own potential at home and on the world stage. Let the people of Scotland make the decisions by which we have to live with, whether that is on how we will manage the future of the National Health Service, how we treat the most vulnerable in society, and let us write our own definition of social justice. If we make our own choices we can decide whether to have nuclear arms or whether we wish to participate in illegal wars. Let us determine what is best for ourselves and for each other in Scotland and how we relate to the wider world on our own terms. We can only do that if we have full autonomy and the right to self-govern which all independent nations possess.”

For him independence is a natural and needed progression from devolution.

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