A TOP Scottish historian has defended Anas Sarwar after he was accused of being a “hypocrite” for celebrating Pakistan’s independence from the British Empire.

The Scottish Labour leader hit back at trolls who accused him of double standards after posting a picture of himself celebrating Pakistan’s 75th anniversary of the country breaking free from imperial rule.

Leading Scottish historian Tom Devine, professor emeritus at Edinburgh University, said there was “no comparison” between Scottish and Pakistani independence, adding that Scotland was not “subjected to imperial authority” when it entered the Union.

Sarwar, who is steadfastly opposed to a second referendum on independence, came under fire from Twitter trolls when he posted: “A great celebration hosted by the Consul General to mark 75 years of independence.

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“Also, a recognition of the immense contribution the Pakistani community continues to make to our culture, economy and society.”

Pakistan broke free from British rule in 1947 after 89 years and became a republic in 1956.

Sarwar, whose father was from a village near Faisalabad, faced comments including: “I thought you didn't support independence or are you making the case to rejoin British India?”

Another said: “So, independence is just fine for Pakistan and you joyously celebrate this fact, but you hypocritically, actively work against Scotland making the same break from the UK.”

The Scottish Labour leader, responded saying: “Sadly not surprised by many of the replies to this.

“An inconvenient truth for angry (not all) Scottish nationalists - Scotland wasn’t a victim of the Empire, it was at the heart of it.”

This view is shared by Prof. Devine, who has written extensively on Scotland’s history and the country's role in building the British Empire in his 2003 book Scotland’s Empire.

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Scots participated in and grew the Empire “with relish and enthusiastic commitment”, he said.

Prof. Devine told The National: “There is no historical comparison between the cases of Pakistani and Scottish independence.

“What became Pakistan was part of the British Empire in India imposed by military force on the people of the sub-continent.

“Scots were very much to the fore in that imperial project as soldiers, administrators and merchants.

“The Scottish elites entered the Union with England in 1707 not because they were conquered and then subjected to imperial authority but because they voted in the Scottish Parliament to do so.

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“They then, with relish and enthusiastic commitment, allied with their counterparts in England to expand the British Empire across the globe.

“The attack on Sarwar in social media is yet another baseless example in today’s Scotland of how ‘Bad History’ is being employed to falsely advance political posturing.”

SNP MSP Tom Arthur backed Sarwar, tweeting: “An important point from [Anas Sarwar] that sadly needs to be repeated - Scotland was at the heart of the British Empire.

“Indeed some of the first to argue in 20th [century] for Scottish autonomy did so with reference to Scotland being an equal partner with England in ruling the Empire.”