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Sara’s Story

My name is Sara Sumbal. My family and I are asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand. We fled our home in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2013 when we became victims of persecution after my father, a Christian evangelist, was labeled a blasphemer under the Blasphemy Law for evangelising a Muslim man. My father was initially threatened by two Muslim clerics to stop evangelising or they would kill him and his family. They then ordered him to convert to Islam and all would be well. When he refused, they and the male members of the Muslim man’s family beat him unconscious and left him for dead on a garbage heap. Family of Sajjad domnick

          Sara with her family prior to their detention

After my father’s recovery, the extremists threatened him again with death because he continued holding prayer meetings. Because we were traumatised and terrified, our family fled form Karachi to a friend’s home in the city of Bahawalpur.

The religious extremists, however, have tentacles that extend all over the country and one day two of them confronted my mother and my brother on the street, pointed a gun at them and said unless you stop preaching your false religion, we will kill you and your family. My mother screamed in terror and a crowd gathered and the Muslim extremists left. My mother tried to get protection for the family from the police, but they refused. She went to the courts but that resulted in the police now threatening us. The friends who were sheltering us became concerned that they would become targets and asked us to leave. In desperation, we left our home and everything in Pakistan, bought airline tickets and fled to Thailand at the end of 2013.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, my father applied for asylum status to the UNHCR. To our utter dismay, we were rejected refugee status. When our visitor visas expired, we became illegal residents with no rights. No right to work, receive medical attention, or to go to school. Being illegal, we were susceptible to being picked up off the streets by the immigration police, or to police raids on our homes and being thrown into Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). For four years we lived in fear and in hiding in a one-bedroom apartment. We did our grocery shopping in fear of arrest by the police or had sympathizers do it for us, while we prayed for deliverance.

Then on July 02, 2017 the Immigration Police raided our apartment and arrested my father, mother and two brothers and threw them into IDC. I escaped because I was out of the apartment at the time of the raid. The past eighteen months have been sheer hell for them in jail and for me surviving on my own, outside. I have not seen them since their incarceration but can occasionally talk to them by phone. Conditions in the Immigration Detention Centre are inhumane and deplorable, with overcrowding, one bathroom for a hundred people, not enough room for a person to sleep on the floor. The food is cucumber soup and rice. Sickness and disease are prevalent.   My mother suffers from diabetes with no medical attention. My father has been diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and my brothers are severely depressed. I cannot visit them for fear of being arrested.

We are grateful to International Christian Voice (ICV) who have agreed to sponsor us to Canada. They are having a fund raiser on March 01, 2019 for this purpose. My family and I will be eternally grateful to you for your support in getting us out of our misery. ICV has advised that according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) guidelines, we need to raise $75,000.00 to sponsor our family in four separate sponsorship applications. 

Please support our cause.

Sara Sumbal (Asylum Seeker in Thailand)


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