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Church of Scotland
UK News

Christian teenager excels in Scottish exams despite facing deportation to Pakistan

by Cara Bentley

Somer Umeed Bakhsh got four As and a B in his Scottish Highers, despite ongoing uncertainty about him and his family's right to stay in the UK.

Somer (pictured on the right), who aspires to be an astrophysicist, is a pupil at Springburn Academy in Glasgow, where he achieved As in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English and a B in Design and Manufacture.

He said: "I'm extremely pleased with my exam results.

"I want to thank my primary school teachers who provided me with a strong foundation and my secondary school teachers who put in the hard work and taught me.

"I am also very thankful for my parents who, despite the stressful situation, always encouraged and supported me.

"Above all, I want to thank God who helped me to stay focused on my studies in the midst of these tough times."

Nearly 94,000 people have signed two petitions calling on the Home Office not to deport Somer and his brother, Areeb, 14, from Scotland as they fear they will be killed by Islamic extremists if they are forced to return to Pakistan, where blasphemy can carry the death penalty.

Somer and Areeb have lived in Glasgow with their parents, Parveen and Maqsood Umeed Bakhsh since their family fled the Muslim country in 2012 after their father was subjected to death threats due to his Christian faith.

The UK Government has repeatedly rejected the family's plea for asylum, largely because officials say they do not believe they would be at risk in Pakistan.

Mr Umeed Bakhsh insists there is nowhere in the country they would be safe because they have been marked by Islamic extremists who have killed people he knows well.

The family, who have been living in Scotland not knowing if they will be able to stay for more than seven years, attend Possilpark Parish Church where they are described as "leading lights" of the congregation.

Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire

Minister, Rev Linda Pollock, said: "Somer is living under considerable strain and he is an example to us all.

"How many adults would be able to achieve 4 As and 1 B at Higher level whilst coping with the threat of imminent departure to a place where they are a target for extremist Islamists?

"His hard work and focus is commendable and you must also know that he has not been a recluse.

"I hope that the Home Office will re-examine the family's case, stop treating them as numbers and acknowledge them as human beings because they have so much to give to Scotland."

The family's case is still under review and the Home Office has yet to make a decision.

Church of Scotland

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