Saffron Walden mayor sparks controversy by taking chains to Pakistan

Councillor Sarfraz Anjum mayor for 2016-2017 Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Councillor Sarfraz Anjum mayor for 2016-2017 Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A row has erupted after Conservative town councillors accused Saffron Walden Town Mayor Sarfraz Anjum of taking his mayoral chain to Pakistan without permission.

Mr Anjum was pictured in Lahore as well as appearing on a Pakistani news channel in Faisalabad wearing his chain. The clip later appeared on YouTube.

Conservative councillor Doug Perry has called on Mr Anjum to resign as mayor.

He said: “Sarfraz has shown a complete disregard for the people of Saffron Walden and has placed himself above the council.

“He should do the honourable thing and resign.

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“You need permission to take the chain out of Essex, and the fact he has taken it abroad to a volatile state such as Pakistan for his personal gratification is totally irresponsible.”

The chain is insured for £147,000, although it is unclear whether that insurance is valid overseas.

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Last year’s mayor, councillor Heather Asker, said: “The role of the mayor is to promote the town and Sarfraz felt in his heart he was doing the right thing.”

Mr Anjum said: “It was an official visit which the town council was aware of. I visited Pakistan in 2007 when I was previously mayor and was told the chain was insured. The visit was about standing side to side with the Christian community in Pakistan in a show of solidarity, and councillors should feel proud of me instead of criticising me.”

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