When news broke last night that Sadiq Khan has been elected London's first Muslim mayor, celebrations began the world over — most notably in Pakistan, where Sadiq Khan's family originates from.
Khan, a former human rights lawyer and Labour government minister, is the son of a Pakistani immigrant who came to Britain in the 1960s. Though his father worked as a bus driver, he wanted something better for his children.
Sadiq Khan's extraordinary rise to prominence in politics has been hailed as an inspiration to immigrants everywhere. Pakistanis have been quick to highlight his religion and also his Pakistani roots. Pakistani TV channels and newspapers (including this publication) ran stories that stressed his background and social media buzzed with congratulatory messages. This is the freshest instance of our tendency to embrace the success of anyone of Pakistani origin, from pop sensation Zayn Malik to boxer Amir Khan, as our own.
At the same time, several people pointed out how Sadiq Khan's success in England would've been very hard to replicate in a Pakistani context.
Commentators stressed that Pakistan's political establishment is plagued by a damaging elitism
Some asked whether a man from Sadiq Khan's background could ever 'make it' in Pakistani politics
In this criticism, some seemed to be referring to Sadiq Khan's stance on issues like gay marriage
Some pointed out how the majority of Pakistanis may not even have investigated Sadiq Khan's politics, preferring to focus solely on his roots
The question resounding all across social media was this:
Some people saw no impact to Pakistan from Sadiq Khan's election
However, it is still worth noting that Sadiq Khan's win serves as an important symbol for minorities across the world: that they, too, can aspire to high politic offices in the hope of making a difference.
Some commentators hoped this win would serve as a lesson for Pakistan
And made clear that we don't lose anything by congratulating Sadiq Khan on his win
Some asked whether getting upset about hypocrisy in Pakistan... mattered
And the debate continues online.