Asylum seeker collects five Highers despite deportation fears

Somer umeed bakhshand js

Somer with education secretary John Swinney.

Somer Umeed Bakhsh's family fled Pakistan after receiving death threats.

6th August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A teenage asylum seeker has collected five Highers despite fearing deportation to Pakistan.

Somer Umeed Bakhsh overcame the stress and trauma of living with uncertainty to get four As and a B in his Highers.

The 16-year-old, who hopes to become an astrophysicist, is a pupil at Springburn Academy in Glasgow.

Now in his sixth year, Somer got As in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English and a B in Design and Manufacture.

He said: "I'm extremely pleased with my exam results. I want to thank my primary school teachers who provided me with a strong foundation and my secondary school teachers who put in the hard work and taught me.

"I am also very thankful for my parents who, despite the stressful situation, always encouraged and supported me.

"Above all, I want to thank God who helped me to stay focused on my studies in the midst of these tough times."

Nearly 94,000 people have signed two petitions calling on the Home Office not to deport Somer and his brother, Areeb, 14, from Scotland.

They fear they will be killed by Islamic extremists if they are forced to return to Pakistan.

Somer and Areeb have lived in Glasgow with their parents, Maqsood and Parveen since their family fled the Muslim country in 2012 after their father was subjected to death threats due to his Christian faith.

But the UK Government has repeatedly rejected the family’s plea for asylum, with officials claiming they do not believe they would be at risk in Pakistan where blasphemy carries the death penalty.

Mr Umeed Bakhsh insists there is nowhere in the country where they would be safe because they have been marked by Islamic extremists.

The family, who have been living in limbo for more than seven years, attend Possilpark Parish Church where they are described as “leading lights” of the congregation.

Rev Linda Pollock, said: “Somer is living under considerable strain and he is an example to us all.

“How many adults would be able to achieve 4 A's and 1 B at Higher level whilst coping with the threat of imminent departure to a place where they are a target for extremist Islamists? 

“His hard work and focus is commendable and you must also know that he has not been a recluse. He has a very active social life and he works with kids living with difficult circumstances.”

Ms Pollock went on to describe Somer, who along with his brother consider themselves Scottish, as a “gift to our community and our congregation”.

She added: “If he is offering so much at 16 years of age what will he offer at 30?

“I hope that the Home Office will re-examine the family’s case, stop treating them as numbers and acknowledge them as human beings because they have so much to give to Scotland.”