Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/381/4305
Stop the deportation of Mansoor Hassan
ON 9 February, there was a successful lobby of the Home Office against the threat to deport Pakistani journalist Mansoor Hassan. After the lobby Mansoor Hassan told Christian Bunke of Manchester National Union of Journalists (NUJ) why his family had to flee to Britain.
The Home Office, ignoring known threats to his life and safety, had turned down his asylum claim. Mansoor explains how his family and the NUJ were campaigning to reverse that decision.
"I COME from a farmer family and my investigative journalism started with writing about companies, linked to high-ranking officials and politicians, selling adulterated pesticides to farmers. I then started writing about other issues such as honour killings - the many cases of young girls being killed, forced marriages and domestic violence - and also how drug trafficking trapped local youths.
The people involved in things like adulteration of pesticides and honour killings are very powerful, with links to the police. Very low-paid Pakistani police depend on these politicians and are given money as a bribe.
I wrote about these things. As a result, they torched my home, they tried to kill me and my son and my wife. I am a journalist, I can live with this. But my family have nothing to do with this. They want safety. This is why we fled to Britain.
Basically, the British government accepted everything I said. The Home Office admit: 'Yes, you were persecuted. Your house was burned down. You were sacked by your employer. You were threatened.' But they don't want to accept my case as they don't want to see an asylum case brought against Pakistan, which could damage the relationship between the British and the Pakistani government that supports the USA and Britain in the so-called 'war against terror'.
I joined the NUJ when we came here. I put my case to the union and they are campaigning for my right to stay here. My wife and myself do voluntary work. Today we had a case of a Pakistani woman, a victim of domestic violence and human trafficking. Her asylum case got refused. Today, we went to a solicitor with her.
Hopefully we can link up all the families seeking asylum and start fighting for our right to stay. Many families are contacting us. When we were lobbying the Home Office, a Zimbawean group contacted us, asking whether we can have collaboration. I said 'yes'.
The 2 April demonstration* will be a great event. The NUJ will play a leading role in building for that. As an NUJ member, I am extremely grateful for what they did for me. We should get other trade unions involved in the campaign.
This is not only about asylum. This is about basic human rights. Trade unions fight for ordinary people and are very effective organisations. We have to keep them involved."
- More details from Mansoor Hassan and Family Defence Campaign, NUJ, 5th floor, Arthur House, Chorlton Street, Manchester M1 3FH.
- Demonstration against deportations: Stop attacks on asylum rights, civil rights and social rights. Saturday 2 April, 12.30 Whitworth Park, Oxford Road, Manchester.
In The Socialist 19 February 2005: