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Newspaper in bid to prevent journalist being deported

The North East Manchester Advertiser is fighting to stop the deportation of an asylum-seeking journalist who fled Pakistan after uncovering government corruption.

Forty-year-old Mansoor Hassan has been told that he and his family must leave the UK and return to Pakistan after their bid for asylum and two appeals were all turned down.

But the family say they fear they will be killed if they are forced to return home and the weekly North East Manchester Advertiser has now stepped in to launch a campaign after reporter Louise Nicholson was contacted by Mansoor.

By highlighting the family’s case and making more people aware of their story the paper is hoping that it can help to make a difference.

Louise said: “Mansoor came into the office and I sat down with him for about an hour and a half while he told me his story from beginning to end and how he has been punished for just doing his job.

“We recently ran a similar campaign concerning a Kosovan family who were casualties of war and in the end the decision was reversed.

“Reaction to our coverage proved that local people do sympathise and that’s what we’re hoping for.”

The family arrived in Britain two years ago and are now living in Openshaw, east Manchester.

They say that while in Pakistan they received death threats after Mansoor wrote a series of articles accusing Pakistan government ministers of criminal activities.

Mansoor also claims he was subjected to beatings at his office in Multan, was sacked after his employers became worried about repercussions and saw his house burned down.

The couple have been advised that they could qualify for asylum on the basis that they have professional qualifications, under the High Skilled Migration programme.

But Home Office officials insist that Mansoor’s life will not be threatened if he returns to Pakistan even though they accept he had exposed crimes that had been committed.

The National Union of Journalists, of which Mansoor is a member, is to investigate the case to assess whether any political pressure can be brought on his behalf.

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