Asylum-seeker feted by the Blairs still faces deportation from Britain

Farhat Khan will get the red carpet treatment today from Tony and Cherie Blair in recognition of her tireless community work - just 48 hours before she makes a last plea against deportation.

The 54-year-old Pakistani grandmother, who has already been honoured at a Buckingham Palace reception, has become a respected and popular figure in Manchester. She claimed asylum in Britain six years ago after fleeing a violent husband whose relatives had already made plans to marry off two of their youngest daughters to older men as soon as they reached puberty.

She has spent much of that time, during which her family has become a model of integration, battling the threat of deportation.

On Thursday, with memories of her trip to Downing Street still fresh in her mind, she will meet immigration officials for a final review of her case. Mrs Khan said last night that she feared for her life if she was sent home and would plead for mercy today not to the Prime Minister - but to his wife. "I would like to talk to Cherie Blair. As a mother, I'm sure she would she would understand my situation," she said. "My husband has made very clear that he would take his revenge if we went back. It's all about honour - he feels we have humiliated himby coming here without his permission."

Mrs Khan added that she feared for her daughters. "My biggest worry is what will happen to my young girls if I'm sent back," she said. "It's a different world there."

Mrs Khan worked with disadvantaged women in Pakistan for several Western agencies, including the Department for International Development. Her husband and his family could not accept a woman working in a non-traditional role, and soon their anger against her had turned to open violence.

Over 10 years, she said, they repeatedly beat her and her five children and subjected them to "mental and emotional abuse". Engagements were arranged by her husband's relatives for the youngest daughters, who were then aged just five and seven.

After receiving a British visa, Mrs Khan put the family on a flight to Heathrow, claiming asylum as soon as they landed. The Home Office accepted her case that they had suffered regular violence, but refused asylum on the grounds that her husband no longer lived in Pakistan.

It ignored that he regularly visited his home region, which is notorious for tolerating "honour killings", and that his family consider themselves equally responsible for upholding his reputation.

The family's claim was rejected, and three years ago they were told all rights of appeal had been exhausted. Since then they have fought a desperate battle - supported by their local community and MP - to stay in the safety of Britain and stave off the day when immigration officers come knocking.

Mrs Khan has thrown herself into work at the Cheetham Hill advice centre, where her knowledge of three south Asian languages means she is in great demand. She also drew on her experience to help found an organisation that supports failed women asylum-seekers.

Two years ago, her work received the royal seal of approval when she was invited to a Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen in recognition of her "recent significant contribution to national life". The invitation arrived the day after the family made a regular visit to a Home Office reporting centre.

Her five children have settled into British life, but all face deportationalong with their mother. Her eldest son, Khurrum, 30, is married with three children, while Sara, 27, has also recently married. Amina, 15, Sikander, 13, and Maryum, 12, are all pupils at Abraham Moss High School.

Rhian Beynon, from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: "The Prime Minister has been giving immigrants a long lecture about how they need to integratein return for their rights.

"We hope when he meets Farhat Khan he realises what a gross generalisation he has been making."

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Primary teachers required for schools in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style