Teenage asylum seeker excels in Highers despite deportation fears

A teenage asylum seeker has excelled in his exams despite fearing deportation to Pakistan.

Somer Umeed Bakhsh got four As and a B in his Highers and now aspires to be an astrophysicist.

The 16-year-old, who is a pupil at Springburn Academy in Glasgow, fled the country with his family in 2012 after his father Maqsood was subjected to death threats due to his Christian faith.

Their plea for asylum has been repeatedly rejected by the UK Government, even though blasphemy in Pakistan carries the death penalty.

He said: “I want to thank my primary school teachers who provided me with a strong foundation and my secondary school teachers who put in the hard work and taught me.

“I am also very thankful for my parents who, despite the stressful situation, always encouraged and supported me.

“Above all, I want to thank God, who helped me to stay focused on my studies in the midst of these tough times.”

Church of Scotland Moderator petition
Somer (left) and Areeb with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Reverend Susan Brown (centre left) and Possilpark Parish Church minister Reverend Linda Pollock (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Nearly 94,000 people have signed two petitions calling on the Home Office not to deport Somer and his brother, Areeb, 14, from Scotland.

They fear they will be killed by Islamic extremists if they are forced to return to Pakistan.

The family – who have been living in limbo for more than seven years – attend Possilpark Parish Church, where they are described as “leading lights” of the congregation.

Minister Reverend Linda Pollock said: “Somer is living under considerable strain and he is an example to us all.

“How many adults would be able to achieve four As and one B at Higher level whilst coping with the threat of imminent departure to a place where they are a target for extremist Islamists?”

Now in sixth year, Somer got As in maths, chemistry, physics and English and a B in design and manufacture.

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