Two teenage brothers have said they are “terrified” they will be killed by Islamic extremists if they are deported to Pakistan from Scotland.
Areeb Umeed Bakhsh, 13, and his brother Somer, 15, have lived in Glasgow since their family fled Pakistan in 2012 after their father Masqood was subject to death threats due to his Christian faith.
The UK government has repeatedly rejected the family’s asylum applications because officials do not believe they would be at risk in Pakistan.
The family have been told they have exhausted the process and have no right to appeal, but plan to launch a legal challenge.
Somer, who hopes to be an astrophysicist, said: “I love Scotland and I do not want to go back to Pakistan. The thought of it terrifies me and it is very stressful to even imagine going back there.
“I wouldn’t have a future and I can’t even read or write Urdu. I want to live here in Scotland, it is my country and my home.”
Areeb added: “I am so happy living in Scotland and I am scared to go back to Pakistan. I am really afraid and I can’t imagine living a normal life there.
“I am so happy living here, I am getting the right education and our lives are not under threat. I have spent most of my life in Glasgow and consider myself a Scottish boy.”
Their father believes the people responsible for shooting dead two Christians outside a court in Faisalabad, Pakistan, know who he is and would kill him and his family if they returned.
The two men who were shot after being accused of writing a pamphlet critical of the Prophet Muhammad, breaching Pakistan’s controversial laws which make blasphemy a capital crime.
Mr Bakhsh, 50, said the men who carried out the killing believe he is an associate of the victims. Four of his friends have been killed by Islamic extremists, one relative is serving a life sentence in jail for blasphemy, and another was kidnapped last month.
Glasgow North-East MP Paul Sweeney urged the UK immigration minister to let the family to stay in the UK while their case is re-examined.
“I have met the family and was disturbed to learn that they are at risk of deportation to Pakistan where they have already faced discrimination and very real death threats for their Christian beliefs,” he said. “They [Somer and Areeb] are in every respect naturalised Scottish boys, having lived here for more than six years now, and quite apart from the dangers they would face, it would be inhumane to deport them to a country they have barely any memory of.”