Friday, November 25, 2005

Danish politics just became a whole lot more colorful

Following the recently concluded local elections, our capital Copenhagen was hit by a political scandal when Wallait Khan, elected for the rightwing Liberals, defected to support a leftwing government of the city in return for the spot as 2nd deputy mayor along with a couple other posts.

It goes WAY beyond mere political backstabbery, though. Other than a series of economic irregularities (running up debts in other people´s names, for example), Khan has a quite....colourful political carreer behind him. Now it has emerged, that he supports the two radical islamist organisations Minhaj ul-Quran and Hizb ut-Tahrir. And that is not all (from Weekendavisen, my translation):

In the November-issue 2005 of the urdu-language monthly Sahil, that is distributed in Copenhagen, it says in reference to Wallait Khans own campaign materials: "There has been this whole campaign against Minhaj ul-Quran and Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wallait Khan has always supported these organisations and schools and institutions all that he could."

According to information in the hands of Weekendavisen, Wallait Khan has had an identical-sounding version of his political program printed in a special issue of the magazine Taswer-i-Watan, that is distributed in Pakistan, but with the addition of the comment about the two extremist organisations: "I will continue to support them."

Wallait Khan himself doesnt answer telephone calls these days, but has earlier denied, that he should be sympathizing with Minhaj ul-Quran. A movement, that on its American home page lists as its goal: "Islamic world domination, elimination of the influence of atheist ideologies and islamic domination both politically, culturally, academically, socially, spiritually and economically."

Babar Baig, the deputy chairman of the organisation in Denmark, has professed, that the Danish section of the organisation "is only a welfare-organisation for peace and harmony", though. Wallait Khan himself in 2001 said to several newspapers, that the organisation was "fundamentalist,", and that he no longer would be a member of it.

Khan was elected to the city council (of Copenhagen - Henrik) this month, but chose a short time later to become an independent and support the deal between the Social Democrats, Radicals, Socialist People´s Party and Unity List (Communists - Henrik) to form the city government. That way, the scales tipped in the new City Council, so the right wing stands to lose one of the two mayoral posts (Copenhagen has a Head Mayor and mayoral posts for different matters - Henrik), that the right wing was otherwise entitled to. The mayoral post will then go to the Unity List. ..

Immediately after the election two weeks ago, it emerged, that Khan in parallel with his political carreer in city hall in Copenhagen also has tried to run in the mayoral election in his hometown in Pakistan. After a complaint from a member of Liberal Youth, the election authorities are currently investigating whether Khan has even been electable in Copenhagen. This, after the daily Politiken wrote, that the local politician has been away from Denmark in more than six months during the last three years. If that is the case, the election of Wallait Khan is declared void, and his deputy steps in in his place. That is a Liberal, and thus the scales would tip back, so one mayoral post goes back to the rightwingers. ..

A Pakistani journalist in Copenhagen, who out of fear of Wallait Khan refuses to be named, says to Weekendavisen:

"The Pakistani society in Copenhagen is very surprised, that the left wing and the Radicals will pay such a high price for a mayoral post. Khan has never respected the Danish democratic values. How can they be so blind, that they give him such a responsibility, that he for example can end up receiving the Queen in city hall." ..

"Wallait Khan, who came here as a 16-year-old - and has worked hard ever since - is simply a role model for the kind of development we want in the Liberals."

The Liberal´s mayor in Copenhagen municipality, Søren Pind, was a happy man, when he on a press conference in city hall on April 6th, 2000, could present a switch of parties of the more remarkable kind: member of the city council Wallait Khan switched from the Socialist People´s Party (SPP) to the Liberals

The SPP has an internal party tax, that all its elected candidates have to pay off the salaries they get from the posts they are elected to. Khan had built up a dept to his party of several tens of thousands of crowns in tax arrears, that would have prevented him from becoming a candidate for the SPP again.

Wallait Khans political carreer started in the Immigrant List, for which he was elected to the city council, and he went from there to the SPP, where he also was elected, then to the Liberals, where he also was elected, and these days he is thinking about again becoming a member of the SPP..

It was especially his friendship with the then 62-year-old Pakistani Sattar Mohd Naz - who in 1997 was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for attempted murder at the special terrorist court in Jhelum in Pakistan - that made some wonder. Sattar Mohd Naz according to Weekendavisens information has also helped Wallait Khan with his election campaign this year..

The friendship is remarkable by the fact that Naz, according to Ekstra Bladet, during a vacation in Pakistan has tried to assassinate Wallait Khan in his home in the Punjab. Khan wasnt at home, and thus escaped alive. The two hitmen Naz had hired were arrested, and revealed Naz as the mastermind. But before the assassination attempt, the two actually had a long friendship stretching back many years.

It began with the elections for the chairmanship in The Pakistani Organisation in the early eighties, where the Pakistani immigrants in Denmark could choose between two candidates: Ch. Sharif and Wallait Khan. Sattar Mohd Naz enthusiastically supported Wallait Khans candidacy. But the resistance against Khan was so strong among some immigrants, that his opponents thought the only way to get rid of him was to kill him. They sought him out at his job in Roskilde, but Khan was on sick leave, so the group instead mangled two of his friends and killed a third.

The assault made Khans and Naz´ friendship closer. Until last year, when NAz´ son annoyed Khan by acting rudely in his office. When Khan told him to stop, the boy continued. That annoyed Khan so much, that he and some of his friends headed out to Naz´ home in Rødovre with baseballbats, to give Naz´ son something to think about. When the boy emerged from the home, he was beaten by Khan and his gang. Naz became angered by the attack, and began speaking badly about Khan in Pakistani immigrant circles. To shut him up, Khan ordered a gang to take care of the entire Naz family. The gang caught the Naz family and supporters on Vesterbro (neighbourhood in Copenhagen), and it developed into a regular riot in Isted Street and Viktoria Street. After that, things calmed down, but according to Wallait Khan one of Naz´ sons later tried to run him over in a car outside the mosque of Minhaj ul-Quran in Valby.

According to the paper Ekstra Bladet the whole thing ended with a Pakistani restaurant owner from Copenhagen arbitrating between the two former friends, and after that the two were again as close as ever.


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