UK government urged to save Afghan Christian from deportation in Pakistan

(Photo: Unsplash/Joel Heard)

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has made an urgent appeal to the UK government to save an Afghan Christian convert facing “fatal” deportation from Pakistan.

The convert, named only as Bashir, fled to Pakistan after the Taliban killed his father, brother and uncle, who worked for the Afghan army.

He arrived in Pakistan with the help of international charities in December 2021 and has had to rely on begging for survival. 

His Pakistan visa expired eight months ago and he was recently denied an extension. The Pakistan government has warned of strict penalties for immigrants who overstay, including a three-year prison sentence and a ban on re-entry to the country. 

The Pakistan government has informed him that he is scheduled for deportation back to Afghanistan on 31 December.

ACN said that Bashir faces “near-certain death” and “likely execution given his personal background” if he is sent back to Afghanistan. 

Bashir, who suffered a knife attack two months ago, told ACN that even in Pakistan he is terrified for his life.

“Pakistan is not a safe country for converted Christians,” he said. 

ACN expressed disappointment that the UK government “has done little to help” Christians like Bashir.

The Catholic charity is calling on the UK government to help Bashir by offering him asylum or assisting him to extend his Pakistan visa or leave the country safely.

ACN’s recent report on global persecution, Persecuted and Forgotten?, published in November, expressed grave concern for Christians in Pakistan while warning that the few thousand Christians remaining in Afghanistan “live in fear of arrest, torture and execution”.

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