Asylum Seekers’ Dilemma – TBP Editorial

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Sajid Hussain, who was granted political asylum in Sweden in 2019 after fleeing Pakistan, had been missing since 2 March 2020. He was last seen boarding a train to Uppsala, a city 35 miles (56km) north of Stockholm.

“His body was found on 23 April in the Fyris river outside Uppsala,” Jonas Eronen, a police spokesman, told the media.

Mr. Hussain’s disappearance was reported widely and his death is being reported to the same extent from national to international media outlets. However, Pakistan’s foreign office has not commented on it, not before and not now.

Pakistan’s indifference towards the disappearance and death of its once one of the top journalists has raised suspicions among journalist fidelity as well as among the activists living in exile.

“Autopsy has dispelled the suspicion of a crime, but some police investigative measures still need to be taken.”, said Swedish police in a recent statement.

In response, Mr. Erik Halkjaer, president of Reporters without Borders Sweden has said that “As long as a crime is not excluded, there is still a risk that his death could be related to his job as a journalist and editor-in-chief for the Balochistan Times.”

Mr. Hussain used to report on human rights violations, drug operations, and military operations in restive Balochistan, which got him in trouble with Pakistan’s secret agencies in the first place who once raided his house and took away his work-related laptop. Eventually, this forced him to leave his work, country, and family to live in exile.

Mr. Hussain’s case has sent a grim message to the asylum seekers who flee their countries in order to escape immediate death threats, but now being haunted by the life which they had left behind long ago.

Malik Siraj Akbar, another Baloch journalist who is living in exile in America, wrote in his recent write-up, “Pakistan’s diplomatic missions, as once reported by the New York Times, regularly spy on the diaspora throughout the world, including the United States under the disguise of “community outreach.”

He further expressed his concern as an asylum holder, “If Jamal Khashoggi and Sajid can go missing and eventually get killed far away from their home countries, no asylum-seeker should assume that they cannot be hunted down.”

Countries that grant asylum to the unfortunate people, who leave their homes in order to find a safe place and start fresh, must ensure their safety and devise a strategy to protect them from the regimes in their parent countries.

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