Home News Refugees fear deportation

Refugees fear deportation

by Archives November 25, 2003

Nov. 25 marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims, but for Pakistani refugee Farzana Rauf it also represents a day of uncertainty and fear, since the Canadian government set it as her deportation date.
“It’s almost like signing a death warrant for us,” said Farzana through a translator. “Especially for my daughter who is a Canadian citizen. This is the gift that the Canadian government is giving us.”
On Sunday, Farzana spoke at a public panel about Pakistani refugees, at the Atwater Library. Yesterday, the Raufs were deported to the United States (U.S). During the panel discussion, she said she was worried that, once in U.S., they would be sent back to Pakistan.
“What kind of security will we have in the U.S.? Are we like animals to be hurried around across borders whenever it suits parties to do so?” said Farzana.
Farzana and her husband, Asif, have been living in Montreal for over a year. They have a one-year-old Canadian-born daughter. Due to escalating death threats, the couple had to leave Pakistan before they managed to bring along their elder daughter, who remains in hiding in their homeland.
Asif was an active member of the Pakistan People’s Party and, therefore, became a target of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the opponent political party in Karachi, capital of the southern province Sindh.
There are over 200 Pakistani refugees living in Montreal, making them the largest refugee community in the region. Since Sept. 11, 2001, these refugees have seen the majority of their regularized status claims refused, on the basis that the situation in Pakistan has improved. However, the 2003 report by Amnesty International claims that “systemic human rights violations – including torture, deaths in custody and extrajudicial killings” continue to occur in Pakistan.
“We have been called liars. We are told that there are no more political problems in Pakistan,” said Farzana during the discussion. “But I would like to ask how it can be possible for any parents to leave their sole child just for no other reason than to live somewhere else?”
While in Pakistan, the Raufs suffered numerous attacks, including a firing into their house which resulted in a miscarriage for Farzana.
“Pakistan’s government state has failed to provide security to its citizens. It’s a military state. If we go back, our lives will be in danger,” she said.
Perveen Kazmi is facing deportation on Dec. 5. After five years of living in Canada without being granted landed status, her refugee claim was recently rejected by the government.
Kazmi was also an active member of the Pakistan People’s Party. She fled her homeland to escape torture and death. She left behind her husband and her six children.
“When I left, my daughter was five; now she’s 10,” said Kazmi through a translator, on Sunday.
Since 1998, she has been living in Canada under “desperate” conditions in the hope of one day bringing her family here after being granted regularized status.
This year, she was not allowed to renew neither her work permit nor her Medicare. She is, therefore, unable to get her medication.
“What am I suppose to do?” she asked. “There is nothing I can do here, even in terms of income. I’m desperate to see my children. I’m desperate to see my family. I don’t know what to do,” she said as she broke into to tears.
Another speaker was Amandeep Kaur Panag, a member of Toronto’s Project Threadbare, a coalition formed in response to the August arrest and detention of 21 men-20 Pakistani and one south Indian-on unproven terrorism-related suspicions.
She said that the refugees that have already been deported should not be forgotten and that people should work towards “stopping it from happening again in the future.
“We need to continue the work of people that are no longer here,” she said.
“The government wants these deportations to happen as quickly and quietly as possible so that they’re not exposed on the injustices that they’ve committed.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment