Asylum & democracy: walking the walk

It turns out Manchester has something of a hero in its midst in the form of Mansoor Hassan, an investigative journalist from Pakistan. This is quite an unusual occupation because, as the US State Department explained in its last country report, Pakistani ‘Journalists were targets of harassment and violence by individuals and groups… [and] practiced self-censorship. But in a country where ‘corruption and inefficiency remained acute’ and ‘government publicly criticized the practice of “honor killing” but such killings continued’, there’s been no shortage of stories for someone like Mansoor.

Scoops have included a company owned by a Minister of Agriculture selling toxic substances to farmers and a member of the provincial assembly killing his own daughter (the only ‘honourable’ thing to do, apparently). Consequently, Mansoor’s suffered beatings, been shot at, had his car rammed off the road, house burned down etcetera. But it seems the last straw came when Mansoor took his young family out for a meal and all came home with a bout of severe barbiturate poisoning.

Anyway. You’d think that a country like the UK, with a long and cherished tradition of freedom and a strong commitment to spreading democracy around the world, would be proud to offer asylum to someone like Mansoor, who’s walked the walk. But no. While suggesting the barbiturate poisoning may not have been deliberate, the Home Office accepts all of the above and further suggests Mansoor (case H1093727) may be suffering ‘anxiety’ as a result. This anxiety, the Home Office believes, could be relived by simply moving to another region of Pakistan. Thankfully, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), doesn’t agree.

If you’ve two mouse clicks to spare, why not tell the Labour Party (who are on the lookout for reasons to be Proud of Britain) and the Home Office, that you’d be proud if Britain were to offer asylum to Mansoor and his family. Simply click this e-mail link, read it over and click send.

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