A six-year battle for asylum for journalist Mansoor Hassan has won a Government promise that he and his family can stay in the UK.
The investigative journalist fled to Britain after exposing corruption in Pakistan.
Mansoor was told in 2004 that he and his family must leave their home in Manchester and return to Pakistan after their bid for asylum and two appeals were all turned down.
But a high-profile campaign, with backing from singer Billy Bragg and Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, eventually resulted in them being told they could remain in the UK after proving they were valued members of the community.
Mansoor has served as a parent governor at his children’s school and is a Red Cross volunteer while his wife is a voluntary classroom assistant.
Soon after launching its own campaign, death threats were sent to the Advertiser’s offices and journalist Chris Humphries received a phone call repeating the threats.
Several abusive letters, many of which threatened violence, were received by the newspaper and security was stepped up at the paper’s office.
His investigative journalism in Pakistan exposed government and police corruption and he feared he might not be properly protected if he returned.
He had been editor of an Urdu language magazine called ‘Crime’ and was responsible for exposing corruption within the business community and the political elite of Pakistan.
As a result of his work he was subjected to threats and violence. Following his exposé of the government, he was beaten up in his newspaper office and continued to receive intimidating threats.
His car was rammed from the road and his father’s house was burned down. He was also shot and he claims there was an attempt to poison him and his family at a restaurant.
Journalists held a public meeting in Manchester in a bid to prevent his deportation and the North East Manchester Advertiser launched a campaign fighting for him to stay.
The NUJ hosted events at Manchester University to rally support for its national campaign.
More recently the union helped with a fresh application for asylum and human rights protection to the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
Mansoor said today: “We claimed asylum in November 2002 and were granted leave to remain on February 6 this year.
“It was a long journey but with the help of God and friends we were able to accomplish it.”
NUJ official Bob Pounder said: “The family has been allowed to stay but not on the basis of seeking asylum. Under a new approach by the Government their case is described as a legacy case.
“Applicants must show that they have, over a period of time, assimilated into the community and have contributed to it.
“Mr Hassan has joined the NUJ and done voluntary work for the Red Cross.
“His wife has worked for a project involved in the resettlement of asylum seekers. Their children attend schools in the Manchester area and are all doing well.”
Ghias (08/02/2008 09:24:53)
It took too long for the Home Office to realise that this case was very serious one. Why that always happens with the HO to realise? Mansoor went through a hell and was not easier than his time in Pakistan.The HO official have their houses and saftey here and their feeling is only related to what the Daily MAil says. PITY.