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(July 2013) Côte-des-Neiges resident Mrs. Khurshid Begum Awan was recently refused at the Federal Court and now has no legal recourse protecting her from deportation.
Last week Mrs. Awan was nearly arrested by CBSA agents at the Montreal General hospital two weeks after suffering a heart attack. Mrs. Awan was spared only temporarily from removal due to a large number of doctors who have attested that her health would be unduly compromised. However, deportation remains imminent and her health continues to suffer.
The Awan family arrived in 2011 from Lahore, where they were targeted by extremist and criminal gangs related to the Sipah E Sahaba, an anti-Shia group banned in Pakistan. Mrs. Awan’s daughter, Tahira, came and successfully obtained refugee status in 2000, when at the age of 17, she was forced to leave her parents and 1 year old son in order to escape a violent marriage. Her husband, linked to Sipah E Sahaba members, continued to terrorize and beat up her parents for money.
* Media Articles
– (Journal de Montreal) Une réfugiée arrêtée sur son lit d’hôpital:
– (Journal Metro) Critiques contre l’Agence des services frontaliers:
– (Montreal Gazette) Woman Faces Deportation Despite Heart Condition:
– (CBC) Sick Pakistani Refugee in Montreal Fears Deportation:
– (CJAD) Pakistani woman facing deportation after heart attack:
* How you can help
You can support Mrs. Awan by doing the following:
i) WRITE a letter to both Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) as well as Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety, responsible for the Canada Border Services Agency) o grant Mme. Awan permanent residency and to stop all removal procedures against her. Please cc your correspondence to Solidarity Across Borders:
– Chris Alexander: Minister@cic.gc.ca
– Steven Blaney: email@example.com or visit www.publicsafety.gc.ca/abt/
– Thomas Mulcair: firstname.lastname@example.org (
– Solidarity Across Borders: solidaritesansfrontieres@
If possible, also PHONE Immigration Minister Chris Alexander in Ottawa at: 613-954-1064
*** Tuesday, July 30, 6pm: Letter Writing Night at Café l’Artère (7000 ave. du Parc) ***
* Template letter:
Honourable Chris Alexander
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
CC : Thomas Mulcair
Member of Parliament for Outremont
3333 Queen Mary, suite 310
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Re : Mr. Muhammad Khalil Awan and Mrs. Khurshid Begum Awan
Dear Minister Alexander,
My name is ___(name)___, and I am a member of ___(add name of organization, or affiliation, or community group if appropriate, with description)___.
I am writing in support of Mr. Muhammad Khalil Awan and Mrs. Khurshid Begum Awan, a family living in Montreal with their daughter Tahira Malik and their grandson Ali. They arrived in 2011 from Lahore, where they were targetted by extremist and criminal gangs related to the Sipah E Sahaba, an anti-Shia group banned in Pakistan.
I am gravely concerned by the fact that Mr. Awan was deported in April 2013, where he lives in hiding outside of Lahore, and already has been targeted by extremist violence. Both Mr. and Mrs. Awan are quite elderly with significant health problems, which were not taken into due consideration. Just last week, Mrs. Awan was again hospitalized following a heart attack. Despite many affadavits from doctors advising against her removal, CBSA showed up at the emergency room to detain and then deport Mrs. Awan. Due to public pressure and the advice of her doctor she was granted a six week stay on grounds that she cannot fly, however deportation remains imminent and her health continues to suffer.
It is also disturbing that during their refugee hearing, Mrs. Awan was not allowed to testify because of a panic attack she had a month earlier, despite her insistence and wishes to do so. The fear and violence lived by several minority communities in Pakistan take on a particular dimension for women and every refugee claimant has the right to be heard.
There is a very real danger for Shias living in Pakistan right now, and Canada should and must act to protect these people and families.
I ask, Minister Alexander, that you intervene to grant Mrs. Awan permanent residency and to stop the all removal procedures against her. I also ask that you allow Mr. Awan to rejoin his wife, daughter and grandson in safety in Montreal.
____ (your name or signature)____.