Tributes to Asian community’s ‘man of the people’

MBE AND OBE   Kashaf Walayat who is to receive the OBE and his father, Choudry who received the MBE 12 years ago, pictured at their Darnall home.   10 January 2008
MBE AND OBE Kashaf Walayat who is to receive the OBE and his father, Choudry who received the MBE 12 years ago, pictured at their Darnall home. 10 January 2008
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THOUSANDS of mourners attended the funeral of Mohammed Walayat, a former Sheffield councillor and one of the most respected members of the city’s Asian community.

Born in Kashmir, he was widely known as Dr Choudry, a term used in his native land to apply to a man of the people.

Dr Choudry, who leaves two sons and two daughters, died aged 75 following a long illness.

Mourners at his funeral in Shiregreen Cemetery included high-ranking police officers, politicians and many people from abroad.

Dr Choudry, who campaigned against intolerance and played a major part in community life, arrived in Britain in 1961 and went on to become a Labour councillor, serving Darnall between 1986 and 1998.

He was awarded an MBE to mark his 30 years’ service to the people of Darnall.

He also served on the Police Authority and played a leading role in the creation of the Pakistan Muslim Centre in Attercliffe.

His work in building bridges between different ethnic groups earned him an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Khartoum.

His son Kash said: “It was incredible to see so many people come to mourn my father. He was a special man, a man of the people and all his life he was a fighter.

“Six months ago he had a stroke and doctors gave him 24 hours to live. But the fighter kept going.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats, said: “Choudry was a regular visitor to our house when I was young and a close family friend.

“Despite me joining a different political party to his, he was happy for me to be involved in politics and was very helpful to me.”