BBC News

Sarwar highlights education as he becomes Punjab governor

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image captionMr Sarwar pledged to get a million more children into education in Punjab every year

Former Glasgow Govan MP Mohammad Sarwar has been installed as governor of Punjab, the largest state in Pakistan.

In his first speech in the post, he highlighted the importance of education, promising to ensure school provision for more children.

Mr Sarwar has given up British citizenship to take up the post.

He was born in Punjab district but spent most of his life in Scotland. He became the UK's first Muslim MP when he won the Glasgow Govan seat in 1997.

The 60-year-old stood down as an MP at the last general election but remained active in Pakistani politics.

Earlier this year, Mr Sarwar helped Nawaz Sharif in his successful campaign to become prime minister.

Punjab is home to half of Pakistan's 180 million people.

'Many problems'

In one of his first initiatives as governor, Mr Sarwar promised to get one million more children into education every year in Pakistan's most populous province.

Five million children of primary school age are said not to attend school in the Punjab and illiteracy remains one of the country's greatest problems.

Mr Sarwar said: "Pakistan is surrounded by many problems - poverty, unemployment, health inequalities, an ongoing energy crisis, terrorism, and human rights violations.

"I have always believed that the best route out of these problems is through education."

In a speech following the ceremony, Mr Sarwar spoke of his own early life as the son of a farmer, walking miles to school each day.

He added: "I want every child, no matter their background, to have the same opportunities as I had, to maximise their potential, and to go on their journey to fulfil their dreams."

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