Letter from Mayor Sarfraz Anjum:
It is disappointing that people are being deliberately misled about the mayor’s chain being taken aboard on a mayoral visit. To be clear, no protocols were broken and the chain is back safe and sound with the town. The Mayor has the use of the chain for their year in office to use when representing the town anywhere. There is no formal process or requirement to sign it in and out. Maybe this needs reviewing. The use of the mayoral chain when representing the town should never be a political issue, but it would seem that some are intent to make it so. I made a similar visit to Lahore with the chain when I was first Mayor in 2007. That was when the Conservatives controlled the town council and there were no concerns, so I assumed the same was fine this time. It would seem that now they are in opposition they are looking to create politics where there isn’t any.
Whilst in Lahore I formally met with the Bishop and took Sunday Prayers with him as a way of showing solidarity with Pakistan’s Christian community. This was a symbolically important meeting connected to my charity work as Mayor and so I needed the signs of office, including the chain. Christians in Pakistan are under pressure. A number are being persecuted, imprisoned and even under sentence of death. Persecution for one’s faith is abhorrent to me, and so I have been committed to their cause for a long time. Amnesty is fighting their persecution which is why it is one of my charities for the mayoral year. This meeting was organised by Town Council staff, but all the costs were borne by me. The Bishop of Lahore will reciprocate and soon visit St Mary’s to take part in a church service. I look forward to welcoming him to our fine historic town.
Cllr Sarfraz Anjum
Town Mayor, Saffron Walden