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Assaulted Pakistani woman fighting deportation from Canada

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Aisha Farooq
WVoN co-editor 

A 20-year-old woman is fighting deportation to Pakistan this week after a man in Montreal sexually assaulted her last year.

The woman, named ‘Zara’ in order to protect her, fears she might be harmed if returned to her homeland.

The attacker in question, a wealthy businessman also of Pakistani descent, is thought to have a large family base in Pakistan. Zara admits that she has already received a number of threats from them.

Three Canadian victims’ groups became involved in Zara’s case, including the Movement Against Rape and Incest (MARI),  the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, and the Regroupement Québecois de centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractères sexuels.

Rosalind Wong of MARI, said that if Zara was deported, the attacker could “easily find someone (in Pakistan) who would harm her and prevent her from ever coming back to Canada to pursue her charges against him.”

In addition, Wong added that Zara had been seeking neurological treatment for the past six years. Her neurologist had advised her against travelling for at least six months after she suffered a concussion in February.

Despite this, Immigration Canada arrested her last week after she missed her final removal date on April 24. She was then taken to a detention center in Laval, Quebec.

An emergency hearing by the Federal Court of Canada on Saturday decided to postpone her deportation for the time being.

Zara arrived in Canada in 2000, when her parents filed for refugee status. However, their status became void after the Refugee Protection Division decided that they “were not persons otherwise in need of international protection.”

The families appeal to overturn the decision was rejected in 2006 by the Federal Court.

It is hoped that Zara will be able stay long enough to file a case against her attacker, who would otherwise not be prosecuted.

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