Sadiq Khan asked on Pakistan visit what it feels like coming home: 'Home's south London, mate'

Tooting-born mayor politely rejects suggestion Asia trip is 'homecoming'

Harriet Agerholm
Thursday 07 December 2017 16:38 GMT
Sadiq Khan rebuffs reporter who asks him what it's like coming 'home' to Pakistan

Sadiq Khan pointed out "home is south London" in response to the suggestion that his visit to Pakistan was a "homecoming".

On a visit to South Asia the London Mayor defied Foreign Office advice by making the symbolic crossing from India to Pakistan.

During the tour, the chief minister of Punjab told the Tooting-born London Mayor: "We consider you one of our own. We see it as a homecoming"

On Mr Khan's arrival in Pakistan, BBC journalist Karl Mercer referred to the statement, asking: "Does it feel like coming 'home'?"

"Home is south London, mate", the mayor responded. "But it's good to be in Pakistan, it's good to come from India, home of my parents and grandparents."

Mr Khan's mother and father were among the Muslim Indians who moved from India to Pakistan after Britain carved up the Indian empire in 1947, prompting horrific violence along religious lines.

His parents moved from Pakistan to Britain in the 1960s, where Mr Khan and his siblings were born.

The mayor's response received a largely positive response on social media.

Mr Khan is believed to be the first Western politician of his generation to make the journey between India and Pakistan on foot.

“We were advised against going to India and Pakistan on the same trip,” Mr Khan told reporters. “There are tensions between the two countries, there are diplomatic challenges. The land crossing is symbolic.”

During his visit to India, Mr Khan called on the British Government to make a formal apology for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which nearly 400 Sikhs were shot dead by British Indian army soldiers.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our reporter asked the Mayor a question in the context of the trip being referred to by senior politicians in the region as a homecoming. The full answer the Mayor gave shows he understood the context of the question.”

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