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West End Extra - by TOM FOOT
Published: 30 October 2009
Cllr Mushtaq QureshiCllr Mushtaq Qureshi
Fighter for social justice

Community mourns death of Bangladeshi councillor

MUSHTAQ Qureshi, who has died aged 76 after a short illness, was the first Bangladeshi to be elected to Westminster Council’s and a man who devoted his life to fighting for social justice.
He lived in Queen’s Park and served as a Labour councillor for the ward for 15 years until his death on Wednesday.
Colleagues and friends described him as a “huge character” who would leave a gaping hole in their social and political lives.
Cllr Qureshi has left behind a living legacy to the Labour Party he supported since arriving in this country more than 50 years ago.
His son Murad, 45, was a former councillor in Church Street, now a member of the Greater London Assembly. His daughter Papya is a councillor in Westbourne ward.
Born in Bangladesh, he was politically active as a student and later became vice-chairman of the Awani League Party, the mainstream centre left party of the region.
Cllr Qureshi came to Manchester in 1956 where he ran a number of restaurants and began his lifelong support for Manchester United. He continued in the restaurant business when he and his family moved to London. After retiring, he volunteered for the Paddington Citizens Advice Bureau in Harrow Road. He was elected to Queen’s Park ward in 1994 and shared a surgery with councillors Paul Dimoldenberg and Barrie Taylor.
Cllr Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour group, said: “Mushtaq’s death is such a sad loss to his family, to the Bangladeshi community and to his constituents in Queen’s Park. His commitment to social justice was at the heart of his politics. He was a fighter for those in housing need and for people who needed help and assistance. He will be sadly missed by the very many people who knew and respected him. We have all lost a true friend.”
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Regent’s Park and Kensington North said: “I’ve known him for 20 years and I loved him very dearly. He was like an uncle to me. He was a huge, huge, character. One of the most dedicated and devoted, humorous and compassionate warm lovely men I’ve met. I’m devastated for him to be taken away so quickly.”
“He was hugely involved in Bangladeshi and Westminster politics. He was a socialist who believed that lots of people got a very raw deal because of the way society was organised in this country.”
Cllr Qureshi often gave free housing and benefit advice sessions at the Bangladesh Association in Queen’s Park.
Chairman Koysar Ahmed said: “Mushtaq was a very active man. He was a dedicated politician and I knew him very well as a friend. He was a very good and sincere man who was very involved in Bangladeshi politics. I pray for him and for God to bless him.”
Lord Mayor of Westminster Duncan Sandys, said: “Mushtaq was a hard working, well-liked and respected councillor who devoted his time and energy to improving the lives of residents and making Westminster a better place to live. In his 15 years as a councillor he did a tremendous amount of good work to improve his ward of Queen’s Park. He was committed to helping local families on a whole range of issues and always available to give specialist advice over any housing, legal and benefit problems. Mushtaq will be sorely missed and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”
In an interview with the West End Extra following the birth of a grand-daughter at St Mary’s Hospital in 2008, Cllr Qureshi paid tribute to the NHS. “Every week we read about how the NHS is collapsing around us. But so many positive stories go unreported,” he said. “The St Mary’s maternity unit is absolutely fantastic. In my opinion, the NHS is sky high!”
Cllr Qureshi’s body is being moved to Brick Lane Mosque and the family hope to honour his wish to be buried next to his mother in Bangladesh.

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