Pakistan Christian Family Faces Deportation Despite Death Threats (Worthy News In-Depth)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

BANGKOK (Worthy News) – A Christian family who fled Pakistan after angry Muslim crowds torched their home and one of them was nearly beaten to death, face forced deportation from Thailand, Worthy News established.

Speaking to Worthy News from Thailand’s feared Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) Anjum Rahat Gill, 44, pleaded for help after the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR rejected their asylum applications.

“I have been in the Immigration Detention Center for four years and one month. It is very difficult for our family to survive in Thailand,” he added.

Gill said that he and his wife, Nadia Parveen, 44, have been in Thailand since 2013 along with his mother and their two young children. “We are victims of the Gojra incident,” Gill explained, referring to anti-Christian attacks in 2009 in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Eight Christians were killed in the Muslim mob violence, including six family members burned alive in their home in the provincial town of Gojra, long the headquarters of the Anglican Church of Pakistan.

The attacks, one of the deadliest riots in years, followed allegations that a Koran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, was desecrated at a Christian wedding in the eastern village of Kurian.


Authorities said the Koran desecration allegations were “unfounded” and banned Sunni Muslim extremist groups in the town of 150,000 incited the attacks.

“This incident was conducted by the banned organization Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (‘Guardians of the Prophet’s Companions’),” Gill told Worthy News.

“This inhuman attempt took the life of many children, women, and men like our family. Seven people were burnt alive. First, they looted, and then they burnt churches and houses. Our house was looted and turned into ashes, too, which left us homeless,” he recalled. “We ran to a church nearby to save our lives, or we would have been burnt alive that day in our house.”

After the Gojra incident, “new allegations of a Koran desecration” emerged “from somewhere we had been singing and dancing in the holy month of Ramadan as it was my wedding. I was beaten so harshly that I was wrapped with bandages like a mummy at my wedding,” Gill said.

Yet the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR closed their case, saying there was no legitimate reason to grant them asylum and that they must prove they endured prosecution, Worthy News learned.

Christian rights investigators claim Muslim translators hired by the UNHCR “hijack applications” by misquoting Christian asylum seekers during the procedures.


The “UNHCR is still asking them to provide new evidence of persecution while they are in Thailand for the last 10 years,” confirmed rights activist Faraz Pervaiz.

The activist, a devoted Christian, knows much about persecution. He was forced to flee to Thailand after Muslims distributed posters offering a reward of some $56,000 to kill him.

The activist was accused of posting anti-Islamic content on social media. Pervaiz, 35, has denied wrongdoing, saying he only started speaking out for the rights of non-Muslim communities.

He expressed his concerns publicly after a Muslim mob attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, in 2013.

The attacks had similarities to the bloodshed in Gojra. More than 150 houses and two churches were torched in Lahore after allegations that a Christian sanitation worker had blasphemed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, Christians told Worthy News.

“Even in Thailand, I feel insecure,” he said in an interview after a Pakistani Muslim refugee shared one of his videos and his location on social media. Pervaiz left the country in 2014 after receiving threats.


He said his own experiences made him understand the situation of Gill’s family.

They are among thousands of Christians, including former Muslims, suffering hardship in Thailand, where authorities seek to send them back to Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Deportation could mean being killed by a mob or facing official blasphemy charges, which carry the death penalty under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy legislation, Parvaiz said.

Yet, “my wife and I cannot work in Thailand, my mother can’t access proper medication while my kids do not have rights to have education in Thailand legally,” Gill told Worthy News. “That’s because we are considered illegal immigrants in Thailand as we are asylum seekers.”

He now fears for the future of himself and other family members, including their two children, daughter Aileen Gill, nine, and son Jonathan Gill, who is eight years old. “Both were born in Thailand,” Gill said.

He hasn’t given up hope that another country will give them asylum. “They need safety, good, and education for their children,” Pervaiz said.

Pervaiz to faces significant challenges ahead. Yet, he, too, remains hopeful about the future. “We face major challenges. But thanks to Jesus Christ, we are stil alive.”

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