On April 8th 2009 armed police swooped on Pakistani students in the North West. Three were released, though items and equipment remain confiscated. The remaining 12 are still in detention without charge. They are awaiting deportation, under the pretext that they pose a ‘threat to national security’. No evidence has been provided.
Tariq ur Rahman, one of the students arrested in last month’s terror raids in the North West, was denied bail on 12th May and imprisoned as a CAT ‘A’ prisoner. As a result, he has been forced to leave the UK, despite no evidence of any wrong doing on his part being put forward.
In a letter to Gordon Brown (see below), four of the parents of the imprisoned students said, ‘Our children are still being punished for crimes that they never committed…We are a poor people and some of the parents have arranged loans for their kids to send them abroad for education.’
Emergency Public Meeting: 20th May, 7.30 pm, Saffron Restaurant, Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester. Speakers include campaigners, solicitors for defendants and Cllr Afzal Khan who has just returned from Pakistan where he met some of the families of imprisoned students.
Campaigner Tariq Mehmood says, ‘it is understandable why someone should wish to leave a country that wants to incarcerate him as a top security prisoner without charge, without knowing when he will be released, without having the chance to talk to any of his loved ones, but what does it say of the system that is doing this?’ Referring to the public meeting he added, ‘it is outrageous that young men who came here to study or anyone else for that matter should be forced into this choice. We must act together to get justice for Tariq ur Rahman and all the others in his situation.’
LETTER TO GORDON BROWN
15 May 2009
Mr. Gordon Brown
APPEAL AGAINST DEPORTATION
It is with utmost distress and pain that we approach your kind office to plead the case of 10 Pakistani students, who are being held by British authorities despite absence of any charges or evidence. Our kids are in prison, thousand of miles away from us having no contact with them for the last 43 days. Agonies, stresses which we are experiencing at the moment cannot be simply explained, what to speak of the mothers of these unfortunate students. UK has long history of fair play and justice and we are sure that justice coupled with compassion will also prevail in this case.
We are sure that your Excellency must be cognizant that these young men were arrested on “suspicion” and not even an iota of evidence has been found in respect of any individual. Absence of any evidence, in such a planned and coordinated UK government operation, maintains our pride in Pakistani children who traverse oceans to seek higher education and then become islands of excellence across the Western countries.
At the same time, our confidence has been restored in the judicial and legal system of United Kingdom. Absence of any evidence also indicates impartiality and objectivity of the investigation carried out so far. However, the ordeal of Pakistani parents is not over. Our children are still being punished for crimes that they never committed. The deportation back to Pakistan amounts the same pain. The deportation challenges our honor and jeopardizes our freedom. The deportation truncates the educational ambitions and it chains the freedom to pursue a happy life.
Through your kind self, we approach the British authorities and the British people, and request them not to sacrifice the education, freedom, and future happy lives of few young Pakistani students under the expansive definition of national security. The deportation will set a wrong precedent on the global landscape of Human Rights. It will rein in the human ascent to freedom and shall be marked as a retrogressive incident. Just imagine what will be the mental status of these students if they are deported with out realizing their dream of completing higher education. We are a poor people and some of the parents have arranged loans for their kids to send them abroad for education
As parents, we are concerned that a punishment is being meted out despite the absence of any offense. The British authorities and British people need to understand that the deportation, in this case, amounts to an atrocious act which will inject helplessness and resentment in Pakistan.
As parents, we also solicit your support to seek resumption of some of the basic human rights for these Pakistani students, particularly:
(a) These Pakistani students may be allowed to appear in the educational exams / tests that are scheduled for their normal course of studies.
(b) These Pakistani students may be allowed to make telephonic calls to their parents in Pakistan.
Through your kind office, we request your Excellency to let these young students resume their studies and to let normalcy return to their lives.
Thank you and best regards,
Ms Azra Sultana Begum mother of Muhammad Shoaib Khan (Arrested Student) Khan Muhammad father of Abdul Wahab Khan (Arrested Student) Sarfraz Khan father of Ahmed Faraz (Arrested Student)
Ms Jallandar Shah mother of Tariq Rehman (Arrested Student)