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Christian teens 'terrified' of death if deported from Scotland to Pakistan

by Eno Adeogun

Areeb Umeed Bakhsh, 13 and Somer, 15, and their parents, Maqsood and Parveen, have been living in limbo for six years after being repeatedly turned down by the Home Office, largely because officials do not believe they would be at risk if returned to the Muslim country.

Speaking on World Refugee Day, the brothers said they regarded themselves "Scottish boys".


Somer, who is studying five Highers at Springburn Academy in Glasgow and hopes to be an astrophysicist when he is older, said: "I love Scotland and I do not want to go back to Pakistan.

"The thought of it terrifies me and it is very stressful to even imagine going back there. I wouldn't have a future and I can't even read or write Urdu.

"I want to live here in Scotland, it is my country and my home."

Paul Sweeney, MP for Glasgow North-East, said it would be "inhumane" to deport the family.

He said: "I have met the family and was disturbed to learn that they are at risk of deportation to Pakistan where they have already faced discrimination and very real death threats for their Christian beliefs.

"This family have already contributed a huge amount to our local community of Possilpark in Glasgow through the parish church and are exactly the sort of people that our country should be welcoming with open arms, not casting out to a dangerous future.

"It is shocking that a highly skilled and motivated family like this have been kept in limbo for so long, unable to work or even drive a car."

The family decided to move to Pakistan after two Christians were shot outside a court, while in police custody, in the Pakistan city of Faisalabad in July 2010.

Church of Scotland

Mr Bakhsh, an elder at Possilpark Parish Church, told the Church of Scotland that the people responsible for their deaths believe he is an associate of the Christians and would kill him and his family if they had the chance.

Mr Bakhsh worked as a data analyst in Pakistan and holds two masters degrees, while his wife is a trained neo-natal midwife with 17-years of experience.

However, both have been unable to work in Scotland, surviving on benefits and charity due to their immigration status.

Mr Sweeney has urged UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes MP, to give the Bakhsh family permission to stay in the UK while the Home Office re-examines their case.

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