AMONG the many tributes received by Humza Yousaf as he succeeded Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minster was one from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"Congratulations @HumzaYousaf on becoming the first Pakistan-origin First Minister of Scotland", wrote Bilawal, the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party and son of the assassinated Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. "Wishing you all the best for your term in Bute House and looking forward for strong partnership in the domains of trade, investment, culture and education".

"Thank you for your kind words", responded Yousaf. "Pakistan will always have a special place in my heart. Scotland's relationship with Pakistan is a friendship that has blossomed through many generations, I look forward to it growing stronger".

Pakistan does indeed have a special place in Mr Yousaf's heart. In his first speech as SNP leader he thanked his wife Nadia, his daughters Maya and Amal, and his parents, before turning his thoughts to his grandparents, who when they first set foot in Scotland barely knew a word of English.

"Unfortunately", he began, "they're no longer alive to see this day. But I'm forever thankful that my grandparents made the trip from Punjab to Scotland over sixty years ago.

"As Muhammad Yousaf worked in the Singer sewing-machine factory in Clydebank, and as Rehmat Ali Bhutta stamped tickets on the Glasgow Corporation Buses, they couldn’t have imagined, in their wildest dreams, that two generations later their grandson would one day be Scotland’s First Minister".

Earlier this week Mr Yousaf was photographed leading Ramadan prayers with his family in his first night at Bute House, his official residence.

Mr Yousaf, who has been the MSP for Glasgow Pollok since 2016, was first elected in May 2011, on the Glasgow regional list. He awoke after three hours of sleep following election night to find no fewer than 186 messages on his phone, mostly from Scots Asians including the former Scottish Labour MP, Mohammad Sarwar, and the community leader, Bashir Maan. He said he was surprised to have received eight calls from residents of the small village his father came from in Pakistan, after his success in the election was announced on Pakistani TV channel, GeoTV.

After being elected as a list MSP, he took his oath to the Queen in English and in Urdu. He did the same when re-elected in 2016, wearing both a kilt and sherwani to reflect his Scottish and Pakistani heritage.

This week, in the aftermath of his accession to the top political post in Scotland, people were pictured standing in front of the house where his grandfather and father had lived, in the busy bazaar of the city known as "Rail Bazar" in Mian Channu, in northeast Pakistan.

It was reported that the first floor of the house is used by shops in the bazaar. In the usable front part of the house, there are tailors, vendors selling samosa pastries and ornaments. Part of the second floor of the two-storey house has collapsed and the rest is unusable. 

The success of Mr Yousaf is said to have been greeted with joy Mian Channu, with relatives recalling a man who was "witty, easy to mingle with, and a thorough gentleman".

The Pakistan Daily, reporting at length on Mr Yousaf's achievement, noted that his family ties to Pakistan "remained strong, as he often visited his extended family in the country and maintained a close connection with his heritage".

It added: "Yousaf consistently advocated for strong ties between Scotland and Pakistan, both economically and culturally. As a minister for external affairs and international development, he played a crucial role in fostering trade relations between the two countries.

"Under his leadership, Scotland and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding to boost collaboration in the fields of education, health, and renewable energy.

"Yousaf had also been an advocate for the rights of the Pakistani diaspora in the UK. He worked tirelessly to promote social cohesion and inclusivity, fighting against discrimination and prejudice faced by minority communities".

The daily added that in 2016 Mr Yousaf received the prestigious Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam award from the president of Pakistan, in recognition of his efforts to strengthen relations between Scotland and Pakistan.