Waheed Zehri must be allowed to stay!
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To return Waheed to Pakistan would be unbelievably cruel as he would be sent back to face real danger and persecution.
My name is Mir Waheed Zehri I was born on the 10th December 1969 in Karachi, Pakistan.
I worked as the Mining and Operational Manager for the Zehri Onyx and Minerals Company which was owned by my late father Mir Imam Buksh Zehri who was a member of the Muslim League (a pro-Muslim political party).
While I was in Pakistan our mines and our offices were repeatedly attacked by armed members of the Baluchistan Liberation Army demanding that we cease our operations and a number of our drivers were kidnapped and murdered.
The BLA also intimidated and attacked other mines and farms trying to close down their businesses, creating high unemployment and unrest in the area to raise opposition to the government and army.
In December 2008 I came to the UK to visit a friend and while here I was contacted by my brother warning me that the situation was deteriorating fast and that the BLA were searching for me.
While I was in the UK I had time to think, and I became a Christian fully rejecting Islam and joined the Salford Elim Church (www.salfordelimchurch.org
I am too frightened to go back to Pakistan for a number of reasons:
a) I am afraid that if I return I will be targeted because of my family’s political involvement,
b) I am afraid that I will be targeted by the Baluchistan Liberation Army because of my family’s business,
c) and I am afraid that having become a Christian that I will be targeted - having become an ‘apostate’ totally rejecting Islam.
I do not think it is right that in order to survive that I should be forced to live in hiding.
Statement by Ian Peacock (Salford Elim leadership team)
Waheed is a committed member of our church and regularly attended over the last nine months.
We first met three years ago at the Boaz Winter Night Shelter, where at that time he was a daily guest.
When we first met, Waheed was a Muslim but was very open to discussing matters of faith – and after some months - it became clear that he had had a spiritual experience that had changed the course of his faith.
He began asking questions about Christianity and meeting with other Christians.
"It became evident that Waheed had become a zealous convert with a desire to spread the love and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to whoever would listen (in fact, I have witnessed him sharing his new faith with others on a number of occasions).
On Sunday 29th April 2012 he made his commitment public when he was baptized as a believer, an event witnessed and celebrated by about thirty other people.
Despite being quite a quiet man, he has fully integrated into our church community, developing relationships and being very willing to serve in practical ways including serving communion and helping with refreshments.
We have found him to be a kind hearted, honest and intelligent man who would have a lot to contribute to the U.K. given the opportunity - but, in the mean time, his mental health is deteriorating as a result of the stress and anxiety caused by being forced to live as a destitute asylum seeker.
In addition to the original reasons that Waheed had to flee his country, if he were now to be deported to a Muslim country, he would now face a very real threat of abuse, intimidation, separation, unfair working conditions, persecution, torture and possible death as a Christian convert and apostate Muslim.
We urge you to support Waheed’s application for refugee status to allow him to live in safety and contribute to the country he has come to love and know as his home."
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