Because this is what happens when they try to do the right thing: Britain’s first Muslim MP to stand down after death threats.
Moselm loyalties questionedÂ
A Labour MP is stepping down after receiving death threats over his role in bringing three racist killers to justice.Â Â
Mohammad Sarwar, who became Britain’s first Muslim MP in 1997, said he feared the lives of his family were also in jeopardy.
He was instrumental in arranging the extradition of Imran Shahid, Zeeshan Shahid and Mohammed Faisal Mushtaq after they fled to Pakistan.
The three were jailed for life last year for the abduction and racially aggravated murder of teenager Kriss Donald, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Glasgow in 2004.
Mr Sarwar, 54, told the Daily Record: “Life is not the same, to be honest with you, since I brought them back. I was subjected to threats.
“I was told they wanted to punish my family and make a horrible example of my son – they would do to him what they did to Kriss Donald. I received threats to my life, to murder my sons, to murder my grandchildren.”
Mr Sarwar used his high-level connections in Pakistan to arrange the extradition of the Shahids and Mushtaq.
The trio fled to Pakistan shortly after Kriss’s murder in February 2004, and were brought back after 18 months of negotiations involving the MP and British and Pakistani authorities. The killers were the main players in a violent gang that terrorised the Pollokshields area of Glasgow.
Mr Sarwar said he recognised the risks of trying to bring them to justice but knew that “it was the right thing to do”.
The judge in the case, Lord Uist, said Kriss, 15, had been selected as a victim “only because he was white” and because he was walking in the district where the three men were seeking a victim.
Mr Sarwar, a multimillionaire businessman, was elected as MP for Glasgow Govan in 1997 and re-elected in 2001 with an increased majority.
Following electoral boundary changes he stood for Glasgow Central in 2005 and won by 8,531 votes.
His eldest son Athif, 28, is awaiting sentence after being convicted in April of an Â£840,000 money laundering scam. Mr Sarwar said his decision to step down had nothing to do with his son’s conviction, which is the subject of an appeal.
The MP said he wanted to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his charity work. He is involved in Pakistan-Foundation International-which helps build hospitals and schools in his native country.
He is also chairman of the UK-wide Muslim Friends of Labour organisation.
Mr Sarwar told BBC Radio Scotland he had been very proud to represent his constituents and said they had shown him great support.
But he added: “The time is now right to move on.
“I am involved in charitable work in Glasgow and Britain.
“I want to spend more time now helping those who are in desperate need of health and education.”
His political career has been marked by considerable controversy.
The former Glasgow city councillor was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations of bribing political opponents, and stood trial for fraud.
However, he was acquitted in March 1999 and restored to the party.
Mr Sarwar says he will stand down at the next election.