After the patriarch of a family with 5 children died, British Asian Christian Association stepped in to provide some financial support. Babar Ishaq was the first ever Pak-Christian asylum seeker met by BACA when we first undertook a reconnaissance back in 2012.
After our representative visited Christchurch in Bangkok on a hunch that Pakistani Christians would attend an English speaking church, Babar then introduced our group to the many of thousands of other Christians.
There are thousands of Pak-Christian asylum seekers in Thailand trapped in limbo as they await resettlement in a country that has signed UN conventions for asylum. Many spend several years seeking a way out of Thailand where they are re-persecuted by the Royal Thai Government who deny them asylum seeker status despite genuine fear for their safety. Brutal Immigration Detention Centres leave the community beleaguered and prone to disease a worry during these times of COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more and watch a BBC Documentary (here).
Like many Pak-Christian asylum seekers Babar Ishaq was supporting his family by undertaking illegal work, undertaking hard laborious tasks with a pittance as pay, just to make ends meet and secure food for the day. However, on 11th March 2021 Babar fell from a height while painting from a ladder and died instantly from a brain haemorrhage. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Ladprao General Hospital.
Babar was not provided with any PPE and the ladder was not supported by any person, mechanical or physical mechanism. Even then, no action is to be taken against his employers and his family have been provided with no compensation or support from them.
Babar Ishaq (RIP)
The family chose to have his body repatriated in Pakistan and the cost of £700 was met by all of the Pak-Christian asylum seeker community who as always club together in times of difficulty. A funeral was held in his home town a week later organised by his many in-laws still in the homeland.
After her world fell apart, Robina Babar (43 yrs) his wife appealed for some support but received nothing until an Australian charity that frequently partners with BACA, contacted us and offered a gift of £300.
Robina Babar continues to be a full-time carer for Soham (15 yrs) who was injured and left mentally impaired after being hit by a train when 8 years old. In 2018 BACA stepped in to pay his medical fees when insurmountable costs meant life-saving treatment was beyond the family.
Soham incurred head trauma at the age of 4 in a freak train accident that left him with intellectual and neurological difficulties. He seemed to improve enough to finally be enrolled in school where he became the subject of vicious bullying. One day during an episode of teasing by a Muslim classmate he became frustrated and mishandled a primer that unbeknownst to him had a Quranic verse in it. This incident lead to he and other children in his family being beaten. Later his parents were assaulted at their home which eventually lead to his family’s departure from Pakistan to Bangkok.
While his family came to Thailand for safety, it was impossible to afford continued treatment due to the Thai Government refusing to accept the status of asylum seekers, a choice they can make through not having ratified international conventions for asylum. Last year Soham’s sight became impaired and he seemed to have lost his hearing as he became unresponsive to stimuli – these were believed likely related complications. Only through emergency treatment were we able to save his life.
Read more (here)
A video of Soham in happier times in 2018.
Robina Babar has been very brave in the difficult circumstances she is facing, however, Thailand is now entering another lockdown after infections have risen to 10,000 a day. Simran and her family and many other families will be requiring food and financial support during what will be a lesson in survival for the thousands of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers residing there.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for BACA, said:
“The prolongued illegal status for legitimate asylum seekers in Thailand is a travesty of international justice.
“Thailand must respect international laws protecting vulnerable asylum-seekers.
“Though they have not ratified UN conventions for Asylum there are numerous UN Conventions they are signed up to that require protection for such people.
“The Royal Thai Government must be encouraged to take responsibility for those living within its borders by other nations and international bodies, more vigorously.
“We pray for a more speedy resolution for the unfortunate Pak-Christians in Thailand.”
BACA is helping many persecuted Pakistani Christians in the Homeland and in Thailand. If you would like to support Simran or any of the other Pak-Christian asylum seekers on Thailand please do donate using one of the options (here).