ISLAMABAD - The election of Sadiq Khan, a Pakistani bus driver's son, as the mayor of London was greeted with celebration on Saturday in the country.

Sadiq Khan's parents had emigrated from Pakistan to Britain in the 1960s.

News of Khan's win in the British capital featured on the front pages of all major newspapers Saturday, while also causing a stir on social media.

"Congratulations @SadiqKhan 4 being elected mayor of London," tweeted Bilawal Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People's Party and son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

"British Pakistanis need +ve role model," he added.

Rival opposition leader and former cricketer Imran Khan - whose ex-wife Jemima is the sister of Sadiq Khan's principal opponent Zac Goldsmith - also tweeted his congratulations to the new mayor.

Elsewhere on social media most Pakistanis appeared to greet Khan's win with pride, with messages marking the recent successes of other high-profile British Muslims - including former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who also has Pakistani heritage - going viral Saturday.

Some could not resist pointing out the irony of the jubilant reaction in the deeply conservative country.

"Pakistani: Sadiq Khan won! Reporter: So you'd vote for a minority immigrant son of a bus driver as Mayor of Karachi? Pakistani: Are you mad?" tweeted newspaper columnist Bina Shah.

Khan has told media that he has relatives in the port megacity of Karachi, where his grandparents reportedly migrated after the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, as well as Faisalabad in Punjab and the capital, Islamabad.


INP adds: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday said the entire country was proud of Sadiq Khan’s victory.

Rashid congratulated Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, first Muslim mayor of London. He said that Sadiq Khan’s win had refuted claims of PTI chief about his popularity outside Pakistan.

Goldsmith is brother to PTI chief’s ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith. Rashid said that Khan was supporting an election campaign against a Pakistan-born candidate. Londoners have rejected Khan’s ‘politics of lies’, he added.

Rashid said election of a Pakistan-born candidate as London’s mayor was a joyous occasion for all Pakistanis. Goldsmith’s defeat against Sadiq had made people’s stance on many controversial issues evident, he said.

Meanwhile, PML-Q Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed yesterday warmly welcomed the victory of Sadiq Khan and termed it a great, historic triumph of tolerance and multiculturalism.

In a statement, he said the victory of Sadiq Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, was as a matter of pride for all Pakistanis. “It shows hard work, merit and professionalism can enable the people of Pakistani origin to rise to the top and that too in one of the world’s most important cities.

Senator Mushahid Hussain said Pakistan should learn a lesson from the election of London mayor that societies excel when they recognise merit based on performance and not because somebody comes from a rich family because a billionaire’s son was defeated by a bus driver’s son. He said London has sent a message to the US where Donald Trump’s political success is based on blatant racism and Islam bashing. Though Goldsmith tried hard to exploit the race and religion of his opponent, the London voters rejected him, he concluded.