The current Mayor is Councillor Abdul Aziz
Abdul was born in 1953 in Kuthiala Sheikan, a small town halfway between Islamabad and Lahore in North East Pakistan.
He was the youngest child in his family and grew up in a joint household alongside two brothers and two sisters.
Unfortunately, Abdul’s mother passed away when he was just four years old and his eldest sister, Razia Begum, who was only 13 at the time, raised him.
His family were land owners His father was a farmer and he grew sugar cane, fruit and vegetables, wheat, beans, peas and aubergines as well as keeping buffalo, horses and chickens.
Seeking adventure, Abdul moved to Copenhagen in Denmark in his mid-twenties. Here he worked at Skodsborg Baden Sanitorium and Hvidovre Hospital.
He set up several businesses and became President of the Pakistan Businesses Organisation in Denmark as well as President of the Pakistan People’s Society.
While in Copenhagen he was introduced to Najma who was a language teacher at Alsidig Aftenskole. Abdul and Najma have been blessed with five children, Shoaeb, Imran, Hinna, Iqqra and Fatma.
Abdul and his family decided to move to the United Kingdom attracted by the educational opportunities.
After moving here, he decided that he wanted to bring his children up in London and made Barking his destination of choice.
Politics has always been an important part of Abdul’s life. In the late 1960s, he was a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
In Denmark, he was a member of the Social Democratic Party. And in 1999, shortly after moving to Barking, he joined the Labour Party.
Abdul has held several positions in Barking Labour Party and the local community.
He has been an active member of the St Ann’s Residents Association and a trustee of the Gascoigne Aid and Advice Shop.
Abdul has also served as a Governor at Jo Richardson and Eastbury Comprehensive Schools, and Barking & Dagenham College.
For a number of years, he chaired the Gascoigne Branch Labour Party before becoming the first Ethnic Minorities Officer in Barking Constituency Labour Party.
Abdul was elected to serve Gascoigne Ward in 2010.
He is the first member of the Muslim community to serve Barking and Dagenham as its Mayor.
Speaking Danish, German, Punjabi, Urdu and English, and having lived in three countries, Abdul brings an international experience as the Borough’s first citizen.