Save Majid Ali 375

Glasgow City College student Majid Ali faces torture and death if returned to Pakistan. Majid Ali’s brother and other members of his immediate family have been taken and I am afraid very probably murdered by the Pakistani authorities as part of their relentless persecution of the Baloch people and desire to wipe out Baloch national identity. The UK Home Office intends to deport Majid. The people of Scotland must defend him.

There will be an emergency demonstration at the Scottish office, 1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh at 13.00 tomorrow. I shall be going along. NUS Scotland are organising a letter-writing campaign to Scottish MPs to get them to put pressure on the Home Office. This is important.

It is appalling that London can seek to rip Majid from a Scottish community which values him, from a nation which respects its immigrant communities and their contribution, as part of Theresa May’s campaign to pander to the corporate media induced racism which regrettably has been introduced into many communities in England. It is a further example of why independence is essential to build a more ethical state.

The persecution of the Baloch has received little attention in the West. Peter Tatchell has done admirable work in trying to raise its profile in the UK, but with little traction. Like so many dreadful abuses, it is a direct result of wrongdoing by the British Empire. Baloch or Beluchistan was formally known as the state of Kelat, which Britain first invaded in 1839, destroying the city of Kelat in 1840 and murdering the ruler Mehrab Khan on the pretext he had given insufficient support to the British invasion of Afghanistan. Britain’s relations with Kelat thereafter were an appalling litany of broken treaties, culminating into the forceful and unwanted incorporation into Pakistan.

A few years ago I met the current Khan of Kelat at his home in exile in Wales and learnt a great deal about the dreadful persecution the Baloch suffer. In the course of my researches into British responsibility for the situation I cam across the crime of the massacre of Kotra. After the killing of Mehrab Khan, fighting continued until a truce was agreed with Mehrab’s 15 year old son Nasir. While the truce was in force, British forces silently surrounded Nasir’s mountain camp at Kotra and attacked before dawn, massacring 500. It is reminiscent of Glencoe, though this was a much larger massacre. In the National Archives of India I trembled as I held the manuscript order for the massacre in my hands.

We should do everything we can to save Majid Ali out of common decency, wherever he is from. But the knowledge of Britain’s historic responsibility for the situation should broaden and deepen our understanding of his plight.

375 thoughts on “Save Majid Ali

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  • Ant Heaford

    Wiki has a vague synopsis of the British invasion, treachery, massacres and eventual subjugation of Kelat state in India:

    “Originally in alliance with the Mughals, the Khanate lost its autonomy in 1839 with the signing of a treaty with the British colonial government and the region effectively became part of British Raj.”

    Thanks for the closer view, and your research. Is there any more background info on Majid’s case?

  • Resident Dissident

    The people of the UK should defend Majid Ali nevermind just the Scottish ones – given the history of his family in Pakistan, I fail to see how the legal criteria for asylum (i.e. a justifiable fear of persecution) are not being met in his case.

    Is there a summary of Madjid’s case or similar somewhere in a format that people can send their MPs asking them to intervene – especially the English Tory ones who probably have more direct influence on Theresa May?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    I laud your involvement, your action and your appeal.

    But I fear you will not get much support from the internet warriors on here.

    Were this young man threatened with deportation to the US/Guantanamo the reaction on here would be different. But this is Pakistan and there is little scope for America-bashing.

    Your appeal is a real test case for the likes of Mr Goss (cf Shaker Ahmed), Mary (Palesitnian youth in general0, etc.

  • John Spencer-Davis


    How can we assist in England? Can you make available a copy of the letter the students are drafting?

    A letter to his local MP, the Home Office, etc? I believe the European Court of Human Rights (Chahal v UK, 1996) prohibits the deportation of any person in cases where there is a real risk of torture in their home country.

    I’ll happily do it myself, but any guidance would be appreciated.

    Kind regards,


  • Abe Rene

    Is there a website where we can find out why this man came to the UK, and why the government seeks to deport him – did he come as a student, not applying for asylum at the time, and overstay his visa?

  • craig Post author

    Abe Rene

    You have bought in to Daily Mail propaganda if you think that is the issue. Desperate people use all means to escape. And sadly the UK is now a country where you will never get anywhere near here if you state your intention is to seek asylum. You are defending a ridiculous Catch 22.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Abe Rene
    07/06/2015 10:00am

    It doesn’t matter. If he’s going back to face torture he should not be deported.

    Kind regards,


  • John Spencer-Davis

    An appeal to Chahal V UK 1996 might be of assistance – citing chapter and verse of the law is something I have usually found helpful. I see nothing online to say it is not legal precedent in the United Kingdom, can anyone advise otherwise?

    Kind regards,


  • John Spencer-Davis

    Dear ,

    Urgent. UK-based student Majid Ali at risk of torture and death if deported to Pakistan

    I am writing to you to ask for urgent help. Majid Ali, a student at City of Glasgow College, has been detained at Dungavel Detention Centre and is due to be deported to Balochistan province imminently. Majid has claimed Asylum in the UK after his brother was the victim of an enforced disappearance by Pakistani authorities. His family home was recently raided and his uncle and cousin were shot and killed.

    Majid’s family have been persecuted because of their political beliefs, a persecution well documented by Human Rights Watch –

    as part of the concerns of the Baloch people.

    Human Rights Watch has documented that it is virtually routine for Balochistan activists and their families taken into custody by the Pakistani authorities to be subjected to brutal torture. In particular, I commend to your attention pages 42-49 of the following 2011 report:

    The following legal matters are of relevance to Majid’s case.
    1. The United Kingdom is a party to the United Nations 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees (“the 1951 Convention”). A “refugee” is defined by Article 1 of the Convention as a person who is outside the country of his nationality due to “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

    Article 33 provides: (i) No Contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. “
    2. Rule 161 of the Immigration Rules (House of Commons Paper 251 of 1990) provides that:
    “Where a person is a refugee full account is to be taken of the provisions of the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees …”
    3. Chahal v. United Kingdom (23 EHRR 413) was a 1996 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which applied Article 3 of theEuropean Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting the deportation of a political activist because of the risk of violations of Article 3, in the form of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Court emphasised the fundamental nature of Article 3 in holding that the prohibition is made in “absolute terms … irrespective of a victim’s conduct”

    In 2010 Majid’s brother disappeared from the family home. His brother, himself and some friends had attended a protest against the Pakistani government and had become active in the activities of groups politically in favour of independence for the Baloch people and as a result his family became a target. (Human Rights Watch has documented 45 alleged cases of “enforced disappearances” in 2009-10).

    Majid’s brother has not been found.

    I am asking you to write to James Brokenshire MP, Immigration Minister, and Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary, asking for an urgent review of this case, and urging that processes be implemented to ensure that deportation where there is a risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment will not occur in the United Kingdom.

    Many thanks for your urgent attention.

    Yours sincerely,


  • John Spencer-Davis

    Just posted up a bit of a tweaked version of the student letter requesting attention, that everyone can use and with a bit of legal chapter and verse behind it.

    Sorry about the formatting, you would need to copy and paste and tweak it as you see fit.

    Kind regards,


  • Abe Rene

    When Majid’s brother was arrested in 2010, why was Majid himself left alone? What were the grounds on which his application for asylum was turned down? Is there any website that will answer these questions?

  • Aggrieved

    At this rate JSD might well become only the second inductee into CMs well hidden Hall of Fame page at this blog, after Mary.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    What on earth does that mean, Aggrieved? No idea what you are talking about.

  • Villager

    John Spencer-Davis
    7 Jun, 2015 – 11:22 am
    “Thanks, Aggrieved. J”

    What on earth does that mean JSD?

    Btw, good work there on the edit of the letter. Not sure whether it hangs together legally, but it certainly gives that impression. Ought to be worth something at MP level.

  • Resident Dissident

    Thank you JSD – letter sent with a little personal tailoring to my MP.

  • Villager

    Btw, Balochistan represents 44% of Pakistan’s total area, but only around 4% of its total population.

    Its people definitely don’t get the attention on the world stage that they deserve.

    That is because the rogue, corrupt, murderous state of Pakistan remains an ill-judged ally of America. I hope in future commenters here will share as much compassion with its people as they do with Palestine. And critique the nuclear-armed highly dangerous state of Pakistan at least as much, if not more so, than Israel.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    07/06/2015 11:13am

    Thanks for not being hostile. I had no idea whether that was a hostile comment or not. Presumably it was not. Cheers, J

  • Villager

    No answer John? Surely there could be an answer as quick as your reply to the troll?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    You’re absolutely right, Craig, about the persecution of the Baloch people in Pakistan. In terms of violent persecution, that goes back, in modern times to the 1970s and the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government, but there have been very bloody Army campaigns there more recently too. Economic oppression continues, unabated (though of course the same could be said for the majority of the people of Pakistan), but the people of Balochistan have not benefited to any great extent form the massive natural resources – gas, oil, minerals, the massive port of Gwadar, etc. that lie beneath/on their land. The Pakistan military has been far, far more assiduous in crushing (secular) Balochi movements (which were human/civil rights movements as well as separatist) than they ever have been wrt Islamist paramilitaries (of course because the latter are their/ state creations).

    Balochistan is partly in Iran (Baluchistan) and partly in Pakistan (Balochistan). Great music, great songs, and a wonderfully rich tradition of Sufism. It’s the largest province of Pakistan but has the smallest population.

  • Villager

    Suhayl, you have a long life as I was just thinking to myself that it would be good to have your insight, and there you are.

    Hope I wasn’t being too harsh on Pakistan earlier. I do intuit that if the odd nuclear weapon is prone to be ‘disappeared’, somehow it would be out of the chaos, and wheels-within-wheels that is Pakistan.

    Thanks and stay well!

  • Villager

    “Thanks for not being hostile. I had no idea whether that was a hostile comment or not. Presumably it was not. Cheers, J”

    Sounds very much like “Relieved” answering to “Aggreived”.

    Btw, rest assured no hostility here, if not already obvious. Just an observation that preservation of self-image seems to trump discouragement of trolls and sock-puppets. A little shallow, perhaps?

  • Republicofscotland

    Can’t say I heard much about Balochistan,after reading a wee bit about the region,and it’s mixed residents and mineral wealth,and influential Gwadar Port,I have a better understanding as to why the Pakistani authorities are hostile towards its residents.

    From what I’ve read it appears the Balochi want more autonomy or even independence from Pakistan,and in some less violent aspects I can relate to this need.

    It would appear to me anyway,that the Balochi people are between a rock and a hard place with both Pakistan and Iran jostling for outright control.

    Theresa May and the Home Office lack compassion, immigration should be devolved to Holyrood,no must be devolved to Holyrood,Dungavel is a ungly stain on the Scottish landscape,and damages Scotland’s reputation.

    I hope Mr Ali is allowed to stay in Scotland.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Were this young man threatened with deportation to the US/Guantanamo the reaction on here would be different. But this is Pakistan and there is little scope for America-bashing.”


    Not so I have stated on several occasions that Pakistan is a totally corrupt quasi police state,with preposterous blasphemy laws,that can see someone convicted and killed for no other reason than being non-muslim.

    Even now a mentaly impaired Scottish Pakistani man languishes in a prison in Pakistan his crime? He wrote a letter claiming to be the Prophet Muhammed.

    Whilst in prison he has been beaten and unbelievably shot by a prison officer,the Home Office pressurised by the Scottish Government,has so far done nothing to aid or abet his release.

    Pakistan also allows all kinds of factions to flit in and out of its borders,as long as it suits them.

    Worringly this deeply flawed religious zealot state possess nuclear weapons,and borders India,which it is in a state of semi unrest,with regards to war breaking out between them.

    One just has to watch the border closing ceremony,(though it’s mainly pomp and vigour) between the two countries to see the underlying tension.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “I hope Mr Ali is allowed to stay in Scotland”

    You gotta do more than just “hope”, RoS.

    At the very least, a doughty (on here) and vociferous (on here) campaigner for human rights like yourself should be sending off the letter provided by a couple of others here?

    You claim to have criticised Pakistan in the past but I do not see word of criticism here and now of the govt that has made Mr Al a political refugee in fear of his life.

    And where is Mr Goss of Shaker Ahmed (held in Guantnamo) fame? Conveniently absent, no doubt.

    Mary, how about you?

  • bevin

    “…the knowledge of Britain’s historic responsibility for the situation should broaden and deepen our understanding of his plight.”

    And this is true too of refugees from just about anywhere, particularly those desperate to escape the Libya we replaced the one ruled by Ghadaffi with, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Yemen. It is just a matter of time before the Ukrainians start flooding in and the scoundrel media which turned regional disputes into a raging civil war starts attacking its latest victims for taking non-existent jobs and displaying signs of poverty.

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