SCOTLAND could end up with more than one former refugee as a councillor if Abdul Bostani gains a place on Glasgow City Council.

He is standing as an SNP councillor for Maryhill after previously standing for the Scottish Parliament and in the Partick/East Kelvindale council by-election last year.

Now 40 and a dad-of-seven, he has embraced the city since fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan 20 years ago. As well as becoming an accountant after studying at Strathclyde University, he founded the award-winning charity Glasgow Afghan United and founded the Scottish Unity League, created for teams and players of diverse backgrounds. The league runs run the annual Refugee Festival Football Tournament, which has around 300 players from 50 countries. Bostani has been recognised with awards from the city council for his volunteering.

He said he was grateful for the support he had received when he arrived in Glasgow and wanted to give back to the community that had welcomed him as an asylum seeker.

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“I very much consider myself a Maryhill man because I have lived here for so many years. This is our home so we are very invested in what happens here in the future,” he said.

“I want to make sure this area and its people are treated with all the respect and dignity they deserve. This is a wonderful area but we are hearing from so many people that they are worried about their energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis. That will affect many people here deeply unless we do something about it, and although it is in Westminster that they can choose to take action on energy companies or reverse the National Insurance rise, we can act here at council level to do what we can to help people, such as by extending free school meal provision to all children in Glasgow’s schools.”

Bostani said voters were also “very angry” about Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak attending parties during lockdown.

“Lockdown was very hard for so many of us – for myself, while there were parties in Downing Street, I was busy delivering food aid to families where people were isolating or shielding,” he said.

“Some of them were on furlough, or they didn’t qualify for furlough but they lost their work. Other people were destitute asylum seekers and the period was incredibly difficult for all of them, and so our charity set up a food delivery service to supply families with good quality, nutritious food.

“It was very hard work, and meanwhile there were people who became very unwell. Some of the Tories have said that Johnson and Sunak were working hard, but we all worked hard and we did not all break the rules; those rules were in place for a very good reason and we had to follow them. We all feel a collective sense of betrayal over this,” said Bostani.