BORN in Lambeth to immigrant parents, Lord Tariq Ahmad has packed an extraordinary array of jobs and roles into a 30-year career that has encompassed banking, finance, marketing, local politics, national politics and, currently, international politics.
As Boris Johnson’s minister of state to the United Nations, south Asia and the Commonwealth and his special envoy on Freedom of Religion and Belief, he has become something of a global statesman and is rarely at home, it would seem. With the Russia-Ukrainian war breaking out at the time of going to press, Lord Ahmad was tweeting about the government’s latest efforts to isolate Russia and increase its support of Ukraine.
He made a speech to the UN in New York on February 23 about the crisis, and told the assembly that Britain stood with Ukraine and its people. But his timelines wasn’t all about this European-cum-global crisis.
As a minister with responsibility for what goes on in central and south Asia, Afghanistan remains high on the agenda. The Taliban’s rule continues to pose challenges there – Britain’s charges d’Affaires in the UK Mission to Afghanistan Hugo Shorter complained about the ruling administrations’ “cleansing operations” and said there “were totally unacceptable and had to stop” – Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon to give his full title, backed the statement which also revealed that the Taliban were discouraging foreign travel of its citizens abroad and telling its women they could not go abroad without a male guardian accompanying them.
His last major trip to the subcontinent and reported by the government was his three-day visit to Bangladesh to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee of Independence in November 2021.
The UK government said it was looking to establish friendly relations for the next 50 years ahead. Lord Ahmad announced a big programme of educational investment –