LONDON: A Pakistani student has made history by becoming the first ever non-European national to become president of the prestigious King’s College London (KCL) student union for one year, after a fiercely fought election.
Momin Saqib, who hails from Lahore, is the first non-EU president of the KCL student union in the 144 years long history of the renowned college. He is a student of BSC Computer Science & Management and will be representing 30,000 students in his role as president of the union.
Around 6,200 students voted in the elections. Momin got more than 2200 votes and gained victory over seven competing candidates.
He will be taking a year off from studies to perform his duties for the full time role as the president of the KCL student union.
The union will sponsor his visa and international travel to represent the college. The student union offices are situated at three different locations in Central London and the president will carry out his duties from these offices.
He told Geo News: "I will be the voice and representative of 30000 students nationally and within King’s College London at all platforms. It’s a great privilege for me to be elected to such a prestigious position. I will be part of the college council which is the highest governing body of the university, representing and being the voice of 30000 students. The personal secretary of the Queen of England is the council chair. Since I got elected as the vice president of the student union last year, I have been on international trips to the Arizona State University in USA & University of New South Wales in Australia on behalf of King’s College London. The purpose of these trips was to strengthen our alliance and increase student engagement with these respective universities.
"Now that I have been active in student politics in UK which is the oldest democracy of the world, I want to take with me the skills and experiences that I have gained to bring about positive change that is needed in Pakistan."
He said the issue of Islamophobic racism has gone up. "Student communities are divided; I want to bring them together. Fees for local and international students have been increasing. We will pressurise the relevant institutions to stop increasing burden on students. I believe that education should be free and equal for all. We need to make sure that marginalised groups are heard."
Momin has been taking part in student protests in London against rise in fees and against the recent travel ban by Donald Trump and his policies against some specific Islamic nations.
Momin introduced the idea of having KCL opened during Christmas break for all those international students, who stay in London. He successfully managed to achieve this during last Christmas break when the university remained open with free food and soft drinks.
It was during an interview with Geo News on August 14, last year that shot Momin Saqib to fame on social media. Back then, he had erupted with emotions while telling Geo News that his "heart was crying" after Pakistan defeated English cricket team at the Oval Test.
He recalls, smiling: "That was a moment of joy and victory not just for me but the whole nation. I never expected the video to go viral but it did. I believe the nation should always stand together and support our team and people in every high or low.
"I would also like to thank my father for supporting me throughout and giving me the confidence to achieve best in all phases of life," he added.