UK & World News

  • 5 May 2014, 16:52

Cricket Club Fights Player's Deportation

A cricket club has launched a campaign to prevent one of its players from being deported to Pakistan.

Ahad Rizvi, 19, and his sister Anum, 20, face being removed from the UK after they were detained in immigration centres at the end of March.

Their parents applied for asylum to the UK, saying they faced religious persecution in Pakistan from groups including Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhanqui, which both have ties with al Qaeda.

Dave Cullum, a member at Easton Cowboys Cricket Club in Bristol, said the first they knew about Ahad's situation was when the all-rounder failed to turn up to a training session at the start of the new season.

He told Sky News: "It's like years ago when young people used to respect their elders. Ahad is a very polite, very steady and quite serious young man.

"The cricket season has just started. We had no idea anything was wrong he was just not there at outdoor training."

Ahad is being held at Colnbrook immigration centre in West Drayton, in the west London borough of Hillingdon, while his sister is being held at Yarl's Wood near Bedford.

They were both held in custody after attending a police station in Bristol as part of their asylum application.

Members of the cricket club have been raising funds to help drive the family to visit their children as they do not have a car.

They have also set up a Facebook page, and an e-petition that calls on Home Secretary Theresa May to overturn the decision to refuse their asylum application. As of Monday morning the petition had more than 650 signatures.

Mr Cullum said: "The family are very, very distressed that they have been separated and they are in detention.

"Ahad's father came to England to further his education and improve his qualifications.

"The rest of the family came to visit, but they had word from Pakistan that an arrest warrant had been placed on the mother so they legitimately applied for asylum.

"They have never missed an appointment with the police and their only appeal is now on compassionate grounds."

Ahad's two younger brothers also play for Easton Cowboys and members of the club wore Ahad facemasks to highlight his predicament during a recent game.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every application on its individual merits.

"We do not routinely comment on individual cases."

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