Abid Qayyum Raja, a Norwegian of Pakistani descent who is a lawyer and a Liberal Party politician in Norway as well, has been elected as the Vice President of his country’s parliament this Saturday.
He has been elected as the 5th Vice President of the Storting (the supreme legislature of Norway based in Oslo).
A total of 5 vice presidents and 1 president were elected. Olemic Thommessen got re-elected as the President and Nils T. Bjorke, Magne Rommetveit, Eva Kristin Hansen, Morten Wold and Raja as the five vice presidents.
This is not the first time a Pakistani-Norwegian got elected as a Vice President, Abid Raja is the second representative from the Pakistani-Norwegian community. Previously, Akhtar Chaudry – a Pakistani-Norwegian of Lahori descent – was the first one from the community to get elected as a vice president. He had been elected as the 4th Vice President (a deputy speaker).
A Norwegian publication says that Raja believes his election has symbolic significance because someone with his background has entered the presidency in Norway. He said,
The fact that I, who has a Muslim background and grew up in a municipal apartment in a poor immigrant family with a mother who was illiterate, have entered the presidency shows what it is possible to achieve in Norway.
It will have [a] symbolic effect both abroad and inside Norway that we can showcase [the cultural] diversity in our country.
Abid Raja was born in Oslo – the capital of Norway. He graduated from University of Southampton, England as a lawyer. His parents migrated to Norway from Gujrat. His father, Abdul Qayyum Raja worked as a factory worker in Christiania Spigerverk steel plant in Nydalen and his mother Akhtar Nasim was a homemaker.