Norwegian Pakistani elected vice-president of Norway’s national parliament

Syed Sibtain Shah

A Norwegian Pakistani politician Abid Qayyum Raja has been elected as vice-president of Norway’s national parliament.

Raja secured number fifth in six-member parliament presidency panel as election for the panel took place at the parliament in Oslo on Saturday.

Mr Olemic Thommessen was re-elected as president while other vice-presidents included Nils T. Bjorke, Magne Rommetveit, Eva Kristin Hansen and Morten Wold.

It is for second time in the history of Norway that a Muslim and an Asian of Pakistani origin became vice-president (equivalent of deputy speaker) of the country’s national parliament. Previously, another Norwegian Pakistani Akhtar Chaudhary had been elected as vice-president in 2009.

Raja and two other Norwegian Pakistani politicians, Ms. Hadia Tajik and Mudassar Hussain Kapoor, were elected as member of the parliament in the election held last month.

Chaudhary Qamar Iqbal, Chairman of Pakistan Union Norway, the leading Norwegian Pakistani Organisation greeted Abid Raja on his election as vice-president of Norway’s parliament.

Iqbal expressed hope that Raja and other parliamentarians from foreign background would work for betterment of the society, especially legal rights of the people of foreign origins based in Norway.

Deputy Mayor of Drammen city of Norway, Syed Yousaf Gilani, termed Raja’s election as vice-president his great achievement. He said it was a result of honesty and hard work of Pakistanis in the Norwegian society.

“It is very worthy that the Norwegian Pakistani community achieves a reputable position again in the national parliament,” said Gilani, while congratulating Abid Raja.

Islamabad-Rawalpindi Welfare Society Norway’s President Mirza Zulfiqar also congratulated Abid Raja for achieving vice-presidential slot in the Norwegian parliament.

Other members of Norwegian Pakistani community including Ali Asghar Shahid, Mirza Anwar Baig, Mian Islam, Javed Iqbal, Saleem Janjua, Haji Liaqat Ali, Ch Ajib Khan and Haji Arshad also greeted Abid Raja on his election as vice president of the parliament.

Parents of the Norway-born Abid Raja had moved from Gujrat district in Pakistan to Norway in the 1970s.

Raja started his career as a lawyer in Norway after having graduated from here. He also holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University.