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Sheikh family separated by Canadian deportation order

Posted in

Family ties
July 16th, 2009
Stefan Christoff - thehour.ca

Montreal - Immigration Canada has deported a Pakistani family from Parc Ex.

Sabir Mohammed and his wife Seema Sheikh were deported, while their children Ashrah Sheikh (26), Tayyaba Sheikh (23), Sami Sheikh (21) and Canadian-born Sabrina Sheikh (5 years) will remain in Canada for the time being. Although the Sheikh children aren't immediately facing deportation, an order from Immigration Canada is pending as a judicial review on their file is carried out by immigration authorities.

"What is happening to my family is wrong, and it is good to see that so many people are against this injustice," explained Sheikh just prior to his deportation.

Public outrage in Parc Ex is growing over the deportation, where a grassroots campaign will challenge the separation of the family. Activists argue that in the case, the Canadian government has violated article 9 in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: "State parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will."

"It is so hard to express what we are going through, we are devastated by the deportation of our parents," says Sami Sheikh, who currently studies computer science at Vanier College. "Also, we have been forced to become parents to our little sister Sabrina who is five years old. This separation from her parents will have impacts for the rest of her life."

Although the Sheikh parents

have been deported from Canada to the U.S., there is fear they will eventually be deported to Pakistan. "The danger they face in Pakistan is very real and very serious," says the family's immigration lawyer Stewart Istvanffy, adding the Sheikhs' have lost several family members to political violence in Pakistan.