Christian begs Home Office not to deport him to his death in Pakistan

From The Metro-

“A Christian man fears the Home Office is deporting him to his death in Pakistan after he fled the country four years ago. Azeem Wazir, 45, left his wife and two children behind in Lahore after a fatwah was issued against him for his ‘Stop Killing Christians’ protests. He was campaigning against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws which prevent anyone speaking out against any recognised religion. The father-of-two has applied for asylum ever since arriving in Bristol, where he has been working as a church cleaner, but his applications have been denied. Azeem was arrested last week and is being held in Colnbrook immigration detention centre, near Heathrow Airport.

His lawyers have launched an appeal to get the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to reconsider the case, as they fear he may be deported as soon as Friday. Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said he was ‘very disturbed’ by Wazir’s case and is calling on the Home Secretary to halt his deportation. Dave Mitchell, senior pastor at Woodlands church, where Azeem has been working and living, said Azeem believes he will face the death penalty for blasphemy if he returns to Pakistan, or will be murdered by Islamic extremists. He said Azeem’s wife has also received threats against him and people have fired weapons on their home. Pastor Dave described Azeem as a ‘warm and funny character’ who has ‘enriched’ the Bristol community.

He told metro.co.uk: ‘Azeem has been living in my household for a few months and he’s just so endearing. ‘He’s a generous and warm character, and I guess it’s part of that personal warmth that led him to campaign on behalf of people in Pakistan. ‘He’s also very vulnerable right now. We’ve seen him in the detention centre and he’s tearful and very anxious about deportation. ‘Because he really believes he will be targeted if he is deported.’ More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Home Office to reconsider the case. A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection. Each case is assessed on its merits and individuals have the right to appeal to an independent immigration court. ‘Where a decision has been made that a person does not require international protection, removal is only enforced when we and the courts conclude that it is safe to do so, with a safe route of return. ‘We do not routinely comment on individual cases.’



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