Bashir Ahmad, first Muslim MSP, dies aged 68

The first Muslim member of the Scottish parliament, Bashir Ahmad, has died at the age of 68.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) member, who represented Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament, became the first Muslim to be sworn into office in 2007.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to the Member of the Scottish Parliament who moved to Scotland from Pakistan at the age of 21.

The SNP leader said: “Bashir made history by being the first Scots Asian MSP therefore giving the Scottish Parliament something indefinable. He made it representative of the whole country for the first time.

“He was the kindest, most decent human being it has ever been my pleasure to meet. And lastly, although he would have considered it to be first, he was the most patriotic of Scotsmen.

“He was a credit to both his faith and to his country,” Mr Salmond added.

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said Mr Ahmad was a “real gentleman” who would be “sorely missed”.

Fellow Glasgow MSP Nicola Sturgeon said that his swearing-in made all members of parliament proud, adding that he represented “the best of Glasgow and the very best of Scotland”.

Mr Ahmad came to Scotland in the 1960s and worked as a bus conductor before setting up a business empire consisting of shops, hotels and restaurants.

He has been a member of the SNP’s national executive committee since 1998 and was elected to the Pollokshields East ward of Glasgow City Council in 2003.

In 2007, Mr Ahmad took the oath of office in Urdu and English while wearing traditional Pakistani clothes.