Refugee status rejected

Wednesday 27 August 2003, by Laila MALIK

They say that before she got sick, Bilqis Fatima made the best food on the block, and fed whoever came through her door. Despite her own meagre welfare cheque, she took care of the down-and-out, the rejected refugee claimants and evictees. That was before the immigration authorities cut off the 63-year-old diabetic’s welfare and threw her in prison.

They say that before she got sick, Bilqis Fatima made the best food on the block, and fed whoever came through her door. Despite her own meagre welfare cheque, she took care of the down-and-out, the rejected refugee claimants and evictees. Every night, she joined the neighbourhood women on the front stoop of their buildings to catch up on the latest comings and goings, and news of home.

That was before the immigration authorities cut off the 63-year-old diabetic’s welfare and threw her in prison.

It seems they had trouble believing that she watched her husband murdered and her children kidnapped by the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), a sectarian group in her home country of Pakistan. The SSP and its splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) have been associated with the repeated massacres of Shi’ites in Pakistan. According to some estimates, more than 2,000 people - the majority of them Shi’ites - have been killed by the SSP, LJ and their Shi’ite counterpart Sipah-e-Mohammad of Pakistan (SMP) since 1990.

Read the full story on rabble.ca

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