Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Humza Yousaf


ON March 29, 2023, a new page was turned in Scotland’s political history, as Humza Yousaf, aged 37, born to Pakistani immigrant parents, was sworn in as the First Minister, becoming the youngest person, the first Scottish Asian, and the first Muslim to serve in office. He took the helm months after Rishi Sunak became the youngest UK prime minister in modern times when he entered 10, Downing Street aged 42. As the first Muslim leader of a government in western Europe, he has attracted attention worldwide. Time magazine featured him on its cover in October, calling him a ‘trailblazer shaping the future.’ Ahead of the confirmatory vote in the Scottish parliament, Yousaf vowed to “continue to ensure that Scotland is a positive, progressive voice on the world stage”. “I will also argue vigorously for independence,” he added afterwards, pledging in the meantime “to make the best possible use of this parliament’s existing powers”. Yousaf is also the youngest leader yet of the Scottish National Party (SNP), and has an onerous task to reinvigorate its flagging campaign for independence. Since his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon’s shock resignation in February last year, the party has been plagued by an ongoing police investigation into its finances and internal divisions.

Yousaf, who promised to be “the generation that delivers independence for Scotland,” is betting on electoral wins to seek a mandate for a referendum. “Let me be clear, if the SNP does win [next general] election, then the people will have spoken,” he told an SNP conference in June last year. “We will seek negotiations with the UK government on how we give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent nation.” In his victory speech after being elected as the SNP leader, he paid tribute to his paternal grandparents who came to Scotland from

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