Pakistani woman becomes council president in Belgium


ISLAMABAD, Jan 21 (APP): 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.
In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Dutch language newspaper based in Brussels, Hina Bhatti explained that her parents arrived in Belgium 40 years ago from Pakistan and she was born and raised in Ostend.
Her family spoke both Urdu and Dutch at home and found it very positive to 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,” she said.
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 Bj”rn Anseeuw (regional MP for the Flemish nationalists).