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The family’s story
The Saddiq family are from Karachi in Pakistan. They fled to the UK in 2005 because Saleem suffered persecution due to active membership of a minority political party.
This started in 2004 with threatening messages from members of other parties and developed into terrifying violent assaults including being abducted at gun point, pursued and shot at in the street.
Saleem became so terrified that for a while he stopped going to work, as a production manager in a clothing factory, and lived in fear in the confines of his house.
Terrified for his own and his family’s lives, Saleem fled to the UK on a visitors visa to try to escape his opponents, assuming that if he disappeared for a while things would return to normal.
During his absence his opponents kept threatening his wife and daughter: Saima received threatening phone calls and visits from people trying to find Saleem, the family’s telephone was bugged and she was followed when she left her home. This in turn created great problems for his in-laws.
He later returned to Pakistan to settle down with his family in Islamabad, but was also attacked by opponents there as confirmed by police reports and newspaper articles.
Saleem received no support or protection from the police though, they told him they could not help as they would lose their jobs.
In the end Saleem felt he had no option but to claim asylum in the UK with his family, which he did in 2005. His parents are still being harassed by people looking for him.
Life in the UK
Saleem and Saima have a son Abdul, born here, now 2 years old. Their daughter Zulekha, 4, is happy, settled and attending Holy Rosary Nursery in Harehills.
Saleem, who has struggled with depression since his ordeal in Pakistan, is excelling on a BTEC National Award in Airport and Airline Operations and is due to graduate in 6 weeks. His tutors have commended his commitment and motivation. Saima has volunteered with SureStart, helping families new to Leeds to integrate, and studied English to a high level.
The Home Office refuse to believe that Saleem was involved in politics in Pakistan even though he has provided official letters from his party, police reports and newspaper articles following attacks made on him.
In support of his claim the Secretary of the political party Saleem supported wrote a letter confirming the details of Saleems political persecution. Three days after writing that letter the Secretary was himself assassinated. The judge refused to accept the letter as meaningful. Saleem has also provided evidence relating to the on-going political difficulties in his country.
In 2007, the family attended a number of interviews at Waterside Reporting Centre in Leeds as part of the Clan Ebor process. Their solicitor has submitted a fresh claim, with additional documentary proof of Saleem’s story.
Now the family has been detained and threatened with deportation to Pakistan, where Saleem fears for their lives. He knows from his own family’s experience that the police cannot give him protection and believes that the recent election in Pakistan will have changed nothing.
They are terrified that if they are deported their will be in great danger.
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