At 10 am this morning (21 November 2017) a family of six struggling asylum seekers in Bangkok were arrested by Thai police for overstaying their visiting
visas. Sadly for the family despite a claim that they still uphold as true they had their asylum application rejected by the UNHCR recently meaning
they now will receive no further help from the UNHCR.
Fearing for their lives should they return to Pakistan where they had fled persecution, the family chose to live under the radar in Thailand were they
were being exploited and earning a pittance, but they felt it was safer then returning to their homeland in Pakistan.
A friend of the BPCA, known as Francis confirmed the names of the individuals. He said:
"The Thai Immigration Police arrested Asif Hasro (46 yrs) and his wife Aneela (43 yrs), and their 4 grown up children Eliasaph (25 yrs), Elias (23 yrs), Rebecca (22 yrs) and Jasmine (20 yrs), and had a Thai reporter at hand to show that the Government is cracking down on illegal immigrants - they want to show that they re cracking down on illicit over-stayers involved in drug dealing, prostitution, sex trafficking and the like, but no differentiation was made with regard to persecuted minorities who have fled to Thailand in real fear of their lives.
"I would like to see such actions reported to the European Court of Human Rights, to expose the corruption and brutality of Thai authorities towards persecuted minorities - similar to the Rohingya in Burma - and let Thailand lose its shine as a tourist hub, and become known for denial of human rights on a huge and brutal scale rather than a tourist paradise."
The family were arrested at 10 am and believe that police identified them by Thai people who did not like them because they were foreigners in their land.
After a period of lull in arrests following the death of former Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, It seems under their new King Maha Vajiralongkorn ,Thai authorities
are ramping up their arrests of illegal immigrants. Sadly those who have sought refuge from persecution simply for adhering to their faith in Pakistan,
it seems their time in Bangkok may soon be up.
Other Pakistani Christians in Thailand have become fearful of being arrested and have called on the global church to pray for their safety.
Thai authorities will arrest anyone deemed to be illegal in their nation, this will include current UNHCR registered asylum seekers, refugees and those
who have been failed by the system.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
"This arrest will result in the long term incarceration of six Pakistani Christians who simply wanted a place of safety from the persecution in their homeland. The incarceration will have its desired effect and the family will no doubt seek reintegration in Pakistan a place that resonates with fear and intimidation for them.
"To Thai authorities and the majority of its people who are fed a sickening propaganda that suggests all asylum seekers and pimps, prostitutes and drug traffickers, this has been a great victory. They have no idea of the impending doom that they are sending these poor victims back to - a hell they will never forget and want to be rid of.
"I cannot believe that when God made the world he would condone the current established territorial zones that obligate people to suffer. I pray one day that Pakistan realises that as a nation it has under-performed in protecting its minorities and that in the future the nation chooses a path of reform. Till then sad, depressing tales of families cursed to return to the self-labelled land of the pure will continue to be told."
BPCA has offered to pay the fines for the six individuals to keep them out of the brutal Central Jail where they would be kept with murderers and rapists, striped, often beaten, fed little and have to wear heavy chains and manacles for much of their time. The fines will cost around £100 each and we need to raise £600 to offer this small help. If you can donate to help these victims then please (click here)
Please be aware that these fines only prevent incarceration from Central Jail. The family will still have to be detained in the Immigration Detention Centre.
Please sign our petition to alter the way Pakistani Christians are assessed by UNHCR and treated by Thai Authorities (click here). Many Western nations still refuse to accept Pakistan persecutes its Christian minority and often asylum cases are failed due to a perceived ability to relocate to another safe area of Pakistan. BPCA does not believe there is any area that is completely for Pakistani Christians.