Saturday, 17 April 2021

Pakistani-origin woman becomes President of Council in Belgium

A 34-year-old liberal politician of Pakistani origin, Hina Bhatti, has become the new president of the municipal council of Ostend of politically influential West Flanders province in Belgium. The report of her appointment has been widely covered by Belgian media including popular papers and magazines, according to a Press Release received from Brussels. In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, she explains that “my parents arrived in Belgium 40 years ago from Pakistan. I was born and raised in Ostend and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. At home, we talked in both Urdu and Dutch. I have found it always very positive that I can combine the better aspects of two cultures. I don’t mind when people talk about my roots. I have many contacts within the different communities. We had and have an open house where everybody is welcome.” Hina studied economy-modern languages in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe College and worked among others one year in the cabinet of Bart Tommelein, currently Flemish regional minister of finance when he was secretary of state. She explained that, in the last years, she took care of her mother (a heart patient) and her brother. But now, she wants to get back to business. There are many important regional and national politicians in the municipal council of Ostend: John Crombez (head of the Flemish socialists), Johan Vande Lanotte (minister of state and mayor), Wouter De Vriendt (important MP of the green party) and Björn Anseeuw (regional MP for the Flemish nationalists).

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