Monday 21 October 2019

'We’re scared for our lives' - parents and three young children facing possible deportation fear returning to Pakistan

  • National student union campaign launched yesterday against possible deportation of Mehwish (29) and Muhammad Saqib (34) and their three children, aged three, six and eight
  • Mehwish Saqib said that she fears her family will be killed if they are forced to return to Pakistan
  • Ms Saqib began studying in DCU two years ago, juggling her children and exams
  • 'I just want to get my full education, to go teach and to work. My main goal is to give my children the best'
Mehwish Saqib, her husband and their three children are facing deportation
Mehwish Saqib, her husband and their three children are facing deportation

Gabija Gataveckaite

A Pakistani family with three young children facing possible deportation have spoken out about their fears of being killed if they are deported.

A national student union campaign was launched yesterday against the possible deportation of Mehwish (29) and Muhammad Saqib (34) and their three children, aged three, six and eight.

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The family’s Leave to Remain application has been rejected by the Department of Justice, which would have allowed them to stay in Ireland. 

The family received a decision from the department last Friday, which refused their application and stated that they have five days to voluntarily leave the country. 

In most cases, once a Leave to Remain application is rejected, a deportation order soon follows.

Speaking with Independent.ie, Ms Saqib said that she fears her family will be killed if they are forced to return to Pakistan. 

“We’re afraid to bring back our children and it’s really, really hard. We think about our children and if we can’t stay in Ireland, where will we go?

“If we’re not alive, what will happen to our children?”

Ms Saqib is a third year early years education student in DCU thanks to the college’s University of Sanctuary scholarship, which allows refugees and asylum seekers to complete third level education.

DCUSU yesterday launched an open letter to Minister Charlie Flanagan and a petition, which now has over 4,000 signatures, to keep the family in the country. 

They have been in Ireland for nearly four-and-a-half years, previously living in Manchester after leaving Pakistan.

The family currently live in the direct provision centre in Mosney and previously lived in the Old Convent direct provision centre in Co Mayo.

“Living in Mayo was very difficult because there was three of us and we had two small bedrooms,” she remembers.

She studied a FETAC Level 5 in early education while living in Mayo and gave birth to her youngest son there.

The family then were moved to Dublin seeking better opportunities for the children. 

Ms Saqib applied for the University of Sanctuary scholarship and began studying in DCU two years ago, juggling her children and exams.

“I’ve been studying full time for two years which has been very difficult because I have three kids which are all very young.

“I would spend the entire day at college and looking after the kids and then studying all night, preparing for exams and doing assignments. Some nights I stay up until 9 or 10 in the morning.

Ms Saqib has passed all of her exams during her studies and wants to continue her education in Ireland. She says that some of her children have never been to Pakistan.

“My two youngest children were born in England and Ireland, so they’ve never been to Pakistan. They don’t know what life is like there.

“I really want to stay in Ireland because it’s an environment that’s safe. We feel safe and our kids can have a bright future here - that's the main goal of being a parent,” she explained.

Mr Saqib’s application for his right to work was rejected, which motivates Ms Saqib to graduate and go into full time employment.

“I want to finish my education and work with small children. I’m very passionate about it and I want to build a career in working with young children,” Ms Saqib said.

“I just want to get my full education, to go teach and to work. My main goal is to give my children the best,” she said.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on individual cases.

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