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Local Family of Five Faces Deportation to Pakistan

Packed courtroom expected in support of Chaudhry family

by Ben Sichel

HALIFAX – A local family could learn Wednesday if they will be deported to Pakistan.

Fakhira Chaudhry, Chaudhry Roouf Ahmad and their three children, Noor-Ul-Imaan, Rukhna Roouf, and Muhammad Bilal Hasan, have lived in Halifax since 2003. They will be attempting to re-submit in federal court an application to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (known as an H&C application), according to refugee rights advocates No One Is Illegal-Halifax (NOII).

Fakhira and Roouf Chaudhry fled Pakistan 10 years ago upon facing death threats and violence from members of Fakhira’s family, who disapproved of her marriage to Roouf Ahmad. Since their departure members of Roouf Ahmad’s family in Pakistan have also reported intimidation from Fakhira’s family as well as local police.

The Chaudhrys’ initial refugee claim was rejected in 2004, and an H&C application was subsequently rejected in June of last year. The family got a reprieve in August, however, when the federal government declared a temporary moratorium on deportations to Pakistan in light of the catastrophic floods across that country.

The Chaudhrys’ three children have never been to Pakistan, and their appeal of the H&C decision states that the rejection failed to consider the children’s best interests. Over the past year NOII has campaigned to stop the Chaudhrys’ deportation. The Maritime Muslim Academy, Islamic Association of Nova Scotia, and Ummah Masjid and Community Centre have expressed their support for the family, along with local Members of Parliament Megan Leslie (NDP) and Geoff Regan (Liberal), according to the website of the Chaudhry Family Support Committee.

On Saturday the Committee held a fundraiser brunch at St. Andrew’s United Church to help with the family’s legal costs. The committee expects “over a hundred friends and community supporters from across the HRM” to be present in the courtroom tomorrow as a show of support, according to a press release.

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