LONDON: After election of Sadiq Khan as mayor of London, Sajid Javid – also the son of a bus driver of Pakistani origin – has been appointed as British home secretary, which is the second most important post after prime minister.
David Cameron, when he was the PM, had once said in my presence: “Sajid Javid is prime minister stuff.” And honestly, there is a little distance between the post of home secretary and that of PM. The incumbent PM, Theresa May, was home secretary before landing in 10 Downing Street.
So now Javid will be sitting in the most powerful room of the world’s fifth most powerful country. He will be the chief of home office, immigration, England and Wales’ police as well as the British Secret Service (MI5).
Around a month ago during the Leaders of Tomorrow Congress in London, the entire hall burst into laughter when before calling upon Sajid Javid to deliver his speech, I said how being son of a bus driver had become a blessing during the last polls.
Khan, the London Mayor, used this fact to connect with the common people. Then it turned out that the fathers of both Sayeeda Warsi and Javid were also bus driver. And this became a sort of trend, I had said.
Appreciating my sense of humour, Javid had also narrated the incident of his being mistaken for Khan outside the parliament house and patted him on his back for doing a ‘marvellous job’.
Moving forward with what I said, Javid said that he met a man outside the UK parliament, who greeted him with open arms and patted him on his back for doing a marvellous job.
Both Javid and Khan are famous for keeping a safe distance from Pakistanis, which is definitely a part of their portfolios.
However, in the above function which was one of the two events hosted by Pakistanis for Javid, he paid his respects to the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, congratulated Pakistanis on Pakistan Day and expressed pride in having Pakistani roots, which, maybe, is the first expression of its kind.
“In my entire life people used to tell me what I should not do. Don’t do O levels. Why attend university? Why choose the composition on economics? How will you work in a bank? Some friends, in a very friendly manner, tried to destroy me, but I refused to stay with them,” Javid said.
At the age of 25, Javid had become the vice president of the famous American bank Chase Manhattan. He later joined Deutsche Bank and became its managing director. At the age of 30, he was already counted among the UK’s billionaires.
Javid is an old Conservative and whole-heartedly supports the Tory Party. When he was appointed as Member of Parliament from Bromsgrove in 2010, very few people knew who he was.
His extraordinary grip over economics drew him closer to the then prime minister Cameron and after that he became apple of the eye of the most powerful person of that time, Chancellor George Osborne.
Javid’s popularity grew so much that even the Labour Party’s high-ups and the then foreign secretary Jack Straw called him the ‘most splendid Member of Parliament’ in the past 30 years. In the next three years, everyone in the British Parliament was saying, “Follow Sajid Javid, he is the future leader.”
In those days, David Cameron predicted his premiership and made him a star overnight. For the past few years, British newspapers have been calling him as the most powerful Asian.
Today, Javid is the first non-white person to become home secretary. Not only this, he was the first man of Pakistani origin to become secretary of state in 2014. After the ministership of culture, media and sports, he was promoted to the post of business secretary.
Nonetheless, after Brexit when Cameron stepped down as British prime minister, circumstances changed and May, while demoting Javid, made him the minister for community and housing.
During this period, he was severely criticised when hundreds of people were burned to death in the Grenfell Tower fire. However, he openly took steps in the aftermath of the incident and was forgiven.
From all angles, Javid is an ideal minister. He has a miraculous grip on economics, has never been associated in any scandal and is liked by the current generation. His communication skills are extraordinary and he apparently has a great career ahead.
However while we may feel proud for Javid due to his Pakistani origin, it is also worth-asking as to when it will become possible for the son of a bus driver in Pakistan to reach the corridors of power just by dint of his hard work, competence and commitment.