Shocking denial by UNHRC of asylum claim of Pakistani Christian leads to his death
20 Oct 2017
Bangkok: October 20, 2017. (PCP) Only a day after we put out an appeal for a woman left widowed after cruel officers at the notorious Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), strenuously exercised a Pak-Christian Asylum seeker to death (click here), we are advised of another asylum seeker who has died.
The latest victim Khurram Ashi a father of two children died last night [19th October] at 7pm (1pm GMT) after suffering a major heart attack his family say. Prior to going into the IDC Khurram was seemingly fit and healthy and there were no concerns about heart problems. However, whilst living in Bangkok his health worsened. He was working for a pittance and was exploited in several jobs often not being paid for hard labour. The little he earned meant that the family would eat low quality food with poor nutritional value, often he would forgo eating so his wife and children had enough. It is believed depression, poor diet and stress contributed to his death.
Khurram's wife Saira Khurram (Pakistani women take on husbands first name as surname traditionally) has now to make decisions on what to do next for her family. Khurram was the primary applicant for their asylum request and it is now believed the case file will be closed. On many occasions UNHCR have been accused of maintaining a very draconian approach to assisting persecution victims.
Saira, spoke to the BPCA, she said: "I had to tell Khurram's parents about his death it was a very devastating moment for his elderly parents. We all cried together all through the night. His parents want his body to be returned to Pakistan so they can bury him in his homeland, but I cannot afford this.
"My children and I have not even been able to see my dead husband's body because his corpse is being held by Thai Police - we cannot even mourn properly.
"Khurram was young and relatively healthy, we fled Pakistan because we were being persecuted but in Thailand we have been treated much the same. Khurram has now lost his life and I feel totally helpless."
The family are seeking help with finance to help pay rent for their home and also to send back to Pakistan the corpse of Khurram so his family there can bury him using traditional rites.
A BPCA officer will be meeting the family in a few hours and will offer to pay one months rent. We will also help arrange an opportunity for Sarah and her children to visit the corpse of Khurram to say their last farewells and hope to extract a hardship donation from UNHCR Thailand, to help with the costs of delivery of Khurram's corpse to Pakistan.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said: "Thailand could not care less for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. Their laws and practices are designed to make life for asylum seekers arduous and dangerous. It is the desire of the Royal Thai Authorities that asylum seekers return to their nations of origins despite knowledge of existing persecution.
"Coupled with the insouciance of the UNHCR in Thailand Pak-Christians have found themselves between a rock and a hard place.
"Countries in the west turn a blind eye to persecution in Pakistan as the nation professes to be an ally in the war against terror and maintains intrinsic trade agreements with most western countries.
"So deaths like this will proliferate and the painful existence for most Pakistani Christians is simply a permanent feature that has to be overcome with faith. May God bless these hardy martyrs."