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    Tuesday, 28 August 2018

    Devoted Pakistani nurse Vekash Manzoor Khokhar was deported from Dublin

    A devoted Pakistani nurse Vekash Manzoor Khokhar who served the people tirelessly and earned the sympathies of  thousands of Irish people.Vekash Khokhar volunteered five days a week in a nursing home in Longford county and in the local music and theatre scene. In the week leading up to his deportation, he volunteered at a World Meeting of Families conference and at Sunday’s Papal Mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin.Pakistani Nurse who had earlier received a deportation order performed at a Dublin theatre hours before boarding a flight to Pakistan.
    Vekash Khokhar, an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse from Karachi, performed with a dance troupe during Abbey Theatre’s Jimmy Hall’s Today performance on August  27. The show was held to raise awareness of the threat of deportation in Ireland. Khokhar had been living in Ireland since 2015 and received a deportation order earlier this summer. He chose to leave the country voluntarily ahead of his deportation to avoid arrest upon returning to Pakistan.
    Mona Considine, general manager of the Longford’s Backstage Theatre where Khokhar performed in a dance project in 2017, said the community would “not stop fighting” to bring him back to Ireland.
    An online petition calling for the minister of justice to grant him permission to remain in Ireland gathered almost 6,000 signatures.
    “In a country starved of qualified nurses, Vicky has an offer in writing for a job with a local nursing home,” writes the petition. “He is awaiting English exam results and recognition of his qualifications to obtain a working visa.”
    It adds that if deported, he will be banned from returning to Ireland for a decade and could face imprisonment in Pakistan.
    The event organised at the national theater aimed to draw parallels between the story of Leitrim farmer Jimmy Gralton – the only Irishman deported from his own country – and asylum-seekers facing deportation today.
     A message read out on stage from Ken Loach, the British director behind the film version of Jimmy’s Hall, noted that if Gralton were alive today “he would be shouting from the rooftops about the unjust treatment of those coming to Europe and Ireland seeking a safe place of refuge”.
    UCD lecturer Dr Anne Mulhall highlighted how the number of deportations of asylum-seekers had risen sharply in recent weeks. “There’s always an increase in August because it’s when solicitors take their holidays. Deportations increase because people can’t get a hold of their lawyers.”
    Dr Mulhall also addressed the recent changes to the State’s deportation policies since the introduction of the 2016 International Protection Act, which she said ensures deportations happen “a lot more quietly”.
    She criticised Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan’s praise of the Act and the subsequent drop in the number of people being granted humanitarian leave to remain in Ireland.
    Some 163 asylum seekers were granted ‘leave to remain’ in 2017, down from 465 in 2016 and 1,201 in 2015. Individuals can be granted leave to remain on humanitarian grounds or based on their existing links in the country. Highlighting the lack of transparency at ports of entry, Dr Mulhall claimed immigration officials could make a decision on whether to allow a person entry into Ireland “based on a whim”.
    Lucky Khambule from the Movement of Asylum Seekers described the fear one feels when they receive a deportation order. “Your life changes, you are never the same. You live in fear, you don’t know what’s gonna happen to you. You’re standing in the gallows with the rope around your neck waiting for someone to kick the chair. They leave children behind, they separate parents. It destroys families.”(courtesy  Irish times)
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