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Monday, June 11, 2018
#Pakistani #Christians Under Attack : Asylum family in plea to PM over fears of death in Pakistan
A Christian man who has spent six years seeking asylum has appealed to the prime minister to allow him and his family to stay in the UK.
Maqsood Bakhsh fled Pakistan in 2012 with his wife and two sons after Islamic extremists threatened to kill him because of his religious beliefs.
They now live in Glasgow and fear their lives would be in danger if they returned to Pakistan.
The Home Office said every asylum case was assessed on its individual merits.
It said officials would contact the Bakhsh family to discuss their circumstances after their case was highlighted by the Church of Scotland.
Pastor Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and Sajid, 24, were accused of writing a pamphlet critical of the Prophet Muhammad that flouted Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty.
Mr Bakhsh, 50, claims the people responsible for the deaths believed he was in league with the two men and would kill him and his family if they had the chance.
The Home Office has rejected the family's previous asylum applications and they have now been told they have exhausted the process and have no right to appeal.
However, they plan to launch a legal challenge.
'My sons feel safe here'
Mr Bakhsh said: "Prime Minister, please help us because I do not understand why the Home Office keep rejecting us.
"They keep telling us that some parts of Pakistan are safe for Christians.
"It is true that lots of Christians live in Pakistan but once you have been targeted by Islamic extremists who know your name and your face, it is impossible to live.
"Four of my friends have been killed by Islamic extremists and my sister-in-law's brother is serving life in jail because of the blasphemy law.
"My nephew was kidnapped last month and no one knows what has happened to him."
Mr Bakhsh, who was a commissioner at the Kirk's General Assembly in 2017, worked as a data analyst in Pakistan and holds two masters degrees, while his wife is a trained neo-natal midwife with 17 years experience.
Due to their immigration status both have been unable to work since arriving in Scotland and survive on benefits and charity.
Mr Bakhsh added: "We love this city, my sons feel Scottish and they are thriving here.
"They feel safe, which is my biggest concern, and want to stay with all their friends - the only people they know - and get a good education."
Rev Linda Pollock, minister at Possilpark Parish Church where Mr Bakhsh is an elder, said their situation was "unconscionable".
She added: "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 MP, Labour's Paul Sweeney, plans to raise the case in the House of Commons.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and every case is assessed on its individual merits."