Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar

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Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar
محمد سرور
Sarwar in 2003
39th and 41st Governor of Punjab
In office
5 September 2018 – 3 April 2022
PresidentArif Alvi
Prime MinisterImran Khan
Preceded byRafique Rajwana
Succeeded byOmar Sarfraz Cheema
In office
15 August 2013 – 29 January 2015
PresidentMamnoon Hussain
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Preceded byMakhdoom Ahmed Mehmood
Succeeded byRafique Rajwana
Pakistani Senator
from Punjab
In office
12 March 2018 – 4 September 2018
ConstituencyGeneral Seat
Member of the UK Parliament
for Glasgow Central
In office
1 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byIan Davidson
Succeeded byAnas Sarwar
Personal details
BornPirmahal, Punjab, Pakistan
British (2007-2013)
Political partyPakistan Muslim League (Q) (2023-present)
Other political
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (2015–2022)
Pakistan Muslim League (N) (2012–2015)
Labour (UK) (until 2010)
SpousePerveen Sarwar
Children4 (3 sons, 1 daughter), including Anas Sarwar
Alma materUniversity of Faisalabad

Mohammad Sarwar (Urdu: محمد سرور) is a Pakistani and former British politician who served as the 31st and 33rd Governor of Punjab,[n 1] from 2013 to 2015 and from 2018 to 2022.[1] In his first term, he represented the Pakistan Muslim League (N). In his second term, he represented the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.[2] He was a member of the Senate of Pakistan from March 2018 until September 2018.[3] From 1997 to 2010 Sarwar was a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, representing a constituency in Glasgow, Scotland.

Born in Pirmahal, Punjab, Sarwar moved to Scotland in 1976 and built up a chain of cash and carry stores.[4] Sarwar served as the Scottish Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central from 1997 to 2010 and retired from UK politics in 2010. During his tenure at Westminster, Sarwar served on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, and his youngest son Anas Sarwar, who currently leads the Scottish Labour Party, served as MP for the same constituency from 2010 to 2015. He was the country's first Muslim Member of Parliament.[5]

He relinquished UK citizenship in July 2013[6] and became Governor of Punjab,[7] representing the Pakistan Muslim League (N). He resigned from the position on 29 January 2015 after disagreeing with government foreign policy. He joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on 10 February 2015.[8]

He was a member of the Senate of Pakistan from March to September 2018.[9][10] He was appointed to a second term as Governor of Punjab in September 2018.[11]

Early and family life[edit]

Mohammad Sarwar was born on 1 January 1950 to a Punjabi family in Sain De Khuie, a village near Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), Pakistan. His family migrated from Jalandhar in 1947. In 1976 Sarwar moved to Scotland.[12] That year he married Perveen Sarwar, with whom he has three sons and one daughter.[5]

In 1982 Sarwar and his brother founded United Wholesale Grocers, a wholesale cash and carry business. In 2002 the brothers split the business, with Sarwar renaming his part as United Wholesale (Scotland) while his brother retained the previous name.[13][14]

His eldest son was accused of an £850,000 missing trader fraud in United Wholesale (Scotland) while he was managing director in 2003. In 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned his earlier conviction in 2007 for the fraud.[13][15][16] Mohammad Sarwar was a remunerated director of the company,[17][18].

British political career[edit]

Mohammad Sarwar MP's constituency office, located on Paisley Road West

Sarwar first stood as a Labour councillor for Pollokshields East at the 1987 Glasgow City Council election, almost overturning a large Conservative majority. In the 1992 election he won the ward.[12] Sarwar was elected as MP for Glasgow Govan at the 1997 general election, becoming the first Muslim MP in the United Kingdom and the first Asian MP elected to represent a Scottish constituency. He was the first MP to swear the Oath of Allegiance on the Qur'an, using the method laid out by the Oaths Act 1978.[19] Sarwar was suspended from holding office within the Labour Party in 1997 when he was charged with electoral offences,[20][21] but he was acquitted in 1999 and the suspension was lifted.[22]

He was re-elected in Glasgow Govan at the 2001 general election. The 2005 general election saw boundary changes in Scotland, so he stood at and won the new constituency of Glasgow Central. He faced an opponent from the far-right British National Party, with whom he refused to share a platform, and he persuaded other candidates to do the same. The returning officer announced the result from a platform with no candidates, and Sarwar later made a speech from the floor of the hall.

Sarwar became a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee from 2004, and was Chairman since 2005.[23] In August 2006, he was a signatory to an open letter to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair criticising UK foreign policy.[24]

Sarwar played a crucial role in bringing to justice the killers of fifteen-year-old Glasgow schoolboy, Kriss Donald. The killers fled to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with the UK. Through his political connections, Sarwar was able to agree a one-off, no conditions attached, extradition treaty. They then faced trial and were convicted for the murder.[25]

On 21 June 2007, Sarwar announced he would not stand for re-election at the 2010 general election.[26] His son, Anas Sarwar, succeeded him as Labour MP for the Glasgow Central seat until the election of 2015 when it was taken by Alison Thewliss for the SNP.

In November 2008, Sarwar was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympic Games, saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage".[27]

His nomination by outgoing Prime Minister, Gordon Brown for a life peerage in the 2010 Dissolution Honours was blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission on the advice of HM Revenue and Customs.[28]

Pakistani political career[edit]

Sarwar established the Sarwar Foundation in 2000, which focuses on provision of healthcare, clean water, education and women empowerment within Pakistan.[29]

He campaigned and fundraised in Britain for the centre-right conservative party Pakistan Muslim League (N) during the 2013 General election in Pakistan. Soon after Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister, he showed his intentions for becoming governor of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab.

On 5 August 2013, he was sworn in as the 31st Governor of Punjab.[30] As governor he criticised the government on a number of occasions. He fought the case of overseas Pakistanis whose houses and flats were confiscated by the land mafia in Pakistan but unable to redress their grievances successfully. On the occasion of Barack Obama's visit to India, he termed it as a failure of the government of Nawaz Sharif. These anti-government remarks led to his resignation.[citation needed]

He resigned as governor of Punjab on 29 January 2015.[3] On 8 February 2015, Sarwar joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).[31] On 3 March 2018, Sarwar was elected to the Senate of Pakistan on a general seat from Punjab after receiving 44 first priority and two second priority votes in the senate elections of that year.[32]

On 5 September 2018 Sarwar took oath as 33rd Governor of Punjab.[33][34][35] In May 2021, shortly before the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, Scottish Pakistani voters received WhatsApp messages urging them to vote for Scottish Labour, whose leader is Sarwar's son, Anas Sarwar. The message read: "Warm greetings to you and your family. As all of you know that 6th of May is the Scottish Parliament election where Anas Sarwar is leading the Scottish Labour Party. For progress and unity, I request you to vote for Scottish Labour on BOTH BALLOTS. And as always thank you for your support. Mohammad Sarwar, Ex-MP Glasgow Central."[36]

Personal life[edit]

Sarwar is a supporter of Glasgow football team Rangers.[37]


  1. ^ Excluding the five Caretaker Governors of Punjab


  1. ^ "Govt removes Chaudhry Sarwar as Punjab governor". Dawn. 3 April 2022.
  2. ^ Said, Mukhtar Chaudhry (11 February 2015). "Sarwar eyes top slot after joining Khan's team". Pakistan Today. Nawa Media.
  3. ^ a b Abdul, Manan (29 January 2015). "Governor Punjab M Sarwar resigns after making anti-govt remarks". The Express Tribune. Lakson Group. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. ^ Andrew Buncombe (5 August 2013). "UK's first Muslim MP Mohammad Sarwar becomes governor of Pakistan's". The Independent. ESI Media.
  5. ^ a b "Sarwar, Mohammad". Who's Who 2010 Online Edition. Oxford University Press. November 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Sarwar rejects reports about his dual nationality". Pakistan Today. Nawa Media. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  7. ^ Boone, Jon (14 October 2013). "From Glasgow MP to state governor". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Former governor Punjab muhammad Sarwar joins PTI". The Express Tribune. 10 February 2015.
  9. ^ Sardar Sikander (4 March 2018). "Muhammad Sarwar's victory catches PML-N off guard". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Senate elections: PML-N bags lion's share; PPP outperforms, PTI meets expectations". 3 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  11. ^ Pakistan (10 August 2018). "Asad Qaiser NA Speaker, M Sarwar nominated as Governor Punjab | Pakistan". The News International. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Biography – Mohammad Sarwar". FatBuzz. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  13. ^ a b "MP's son guilty of huge cash scam". BBC News. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  14. ^ "Bank Raises A Glass After Signing-Up United Wholesale Grocers". Clydesdale Bank. 21 February 2005. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ "Former MP Sarwar's son cleared of £850,000 fraud". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  16. ^ Kelly Fiveash (24 May 2007). "MP's son guilty of VAT carousel fraud". The Register. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  17. ^ "Register of Members' Interests". UK Parliament. 4 December 2003. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ "Changes to the Register of Members' Interests – Mohammad Sarwar". TheyWorkForYou. MySociety. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  19. ^ "The Parliamentary Oath" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 14 February 2000: 10. Research paper 00/17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2000. Retrieved 5 June 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ "Mohammad Sarwar MP indicted". Scottish Office. 1 October 1998. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  21. ^ ""Internal Exile" for Sarwar". Politics 97. BBC News. 1997. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  22. ^ "MP cleared of bribery". BBC News. 25 March 1999.
  23. ^ "Voting Record — Mohammad Sarwar". The Public Whip. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Minister criticises Muslim letter". BBC News. 12 August 2006.
  25. ^ Wylie, Bob (8 November 2006). "Gangsters, murder and extradition". BBC News. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  26. ^ "Sarwar plans to stand down as MP". BBC News. 21 June 2007.
  27. ^ UK OLYMPIC FOOTBALL TEAM, EDM (Early Day Motion)2496: tabled on 12 November 2008
  28. ^ Johnson, Simon (26 September 2010). "Muslim MP's peerage blocked by the taxman". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  29. ^ "About us". Sarwar Foundation. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Sarwar takes oath as 35th Punjab governor". Dawn Media Group. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  31. ^ Kashif Imran (8 February 2015). "Sarwar agrees to join PTI: sources". ARY News. ARY Communications.
  32. ^ "Chaudhry Sarwar wins senate seat". Samaa TV. 3 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Chaudhry Sarwar, Shah Farman sworn in as Punjab, KP governors". Pakistan Today.
  34. ^ "Sarwar sworn in as 37th governor of Punjab". Dawn Media Group. 6 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Sarwar takes oath as Punjab governor". The Express Tribune. Lakson Group. 6 September 2018.
  36. ^ Paterson, Kirsteen (6 May 2021). "Election: Scots voters receive texts from Pakistan urging them to back Labour". The National. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  37. ^ Ferguson, John (3 May 2008). "Rangers' celebrity supporters out in force for UEFA Cup final". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 May 2008.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Glasgow Govan
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Punjab
2 August 2013 – 29 January 2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Punjab
5 September 2018 – 3 April 2022
Succeeded by