Supporters rally around Saskatoon couple trying to adopt Pakistani child

Published: September 9, 2013

Waheeda Afridi’s adopted son, Ajjab. The StarPhoenix photo.

JASON WARICK
THE STARPHOENIX

Supporters are rallying around a Saskatoon woman stuck in Pakistan with her adopted son.

Nearly 200 people have signed a petition asking the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments to allow Waheeda Afridi to return to Saskatoon with three-yearold Ajjab.

“I don’t understand why this is happening. They need our support,” said Open Door Society board member Norma Sim.

“I can only pray they will be able to come home soon,” said longtime family friend

Arifa Rajput.

Their return is being blocked partly because Saskatch-ewan government officials don’t believe Pakistan’s “guardianship certificates” are sufficient to allow adoption, even though the United States and other countries do.

Afridi has been caring for Ajjab – her ill, widowed sister’s seventh child – since his birth in Pakistan. Afridi’s husband, Ashfaq, has remained in Saskatoon to work as a private security guard, and has not seen either of them in three years.

After trying to conceive a child for years, the Saskatoon couple decided to adopt. When Afridi’s sister became pregnant and her husband died weeks later, everyone agreed it was best for Waheeda and Ashfaq to adopt the baby.

They endured the arduous process to obtain a guardianship certificate from the Pakistani courts. They passed a home study for prospective adoptive parents conducted by the Saskatchewan government.

“They did everything properly,” said Nayyar Javed, family friend and founder of Immigrant Women of Saskatchewan.

“Waheeda and her husband have worked so hard to upgrade their education, to find good jobs and to integrate into Canadian society,” said Javed.

However, provincial officials are blocking any such adoptions. One other issue is the provincial government doesn’t want to allow adoptions from nations which are not party to an international adoption treaty called The Hague Convention, a safeguard against smuggling and other unethical practices.

Supporters say it’s important to have rules around international adoptions, but exceptions are made for similar cases in other jurisdictions. The U.S. allows several dozen Americans to adopt Pakistani children each year, as do other Commonwealth nations.

“This is the furthest thing from child trafficking. They are rescuing this child. It’s a no-brainer,” former Open Door board member Deb Hopkins said.

Rajput, who Afridi refers to as “Auntie,” said it’s understandable Afridi does not want to return without Ajjab, even though she is suffering from a serious medical condition.

“Would you abandon your three-year-old child? Imagine the suffering they are going through,” said Rajput, one of the few Pakistanis in Saskatoon when she arrived in the mid-1970s.

“Canada is my country and Saskatoon is my home. I have to have faith this will work out.”

Their Saskatoon lawyer, Haidah Amirzadeh, has filed a request for a judicial review of the case. She and the supporters hold out hope that provincial and federal government ministers will help them.

She said the best interests of the child should be paramount and it’s obvious Ajjab would be better off with Waheeda and Ashfaq in Saskatoon.

Ashfaq said the support has lifted his mood.

“I am a little bit happy. People are speaking out for us, and I hope it will work,” he said.

“Please do not be afraid about Ajjab. He is just a little helpless boy.”

Related Stories:


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

Badaun suicide

Indian investigators say two sisters found hanging from a tree were not murdered or gang raped

HINDUSTAN TIMES The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has concluded after a five-month probe that the two teenaged Badaun cousins had committed suicide, putting to…
Continue Reading »

domestic violence South Asian Surrey

Alex Sangha: Five step plan to curb domestic violence in the South Asian community

ALEX SANGHA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI There have been a number of high profile murders in the South Asian community in Surrey over the years. …
Continue Reading »

Surrey crash-desi

Surrey crash victim’s son says deporting parolee would ‘send a message’

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — A Surrey man who killed an elderly man when he smashed his brother’s Corvette into a Surrey bus shelter…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

domestic violence South Asian Surrey

Alex Sangha: Five step plan to curb domestic violence in the South Asian community

ALEX SANGHA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI There have been a number of high profile murders in the South Asian community in Surrey over the years. …
Continue Reading »

Surrey crash-desi

Surrey crash victim’s son says deporting parolee would ‘send a message’

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — A Surrey man who killed an elderly man when he smashed his brother’s Corvette into a Surrey bus shelter…
Continue Reading »

Islamophobia

Stereotyping is alive and well when it comes to Muslim and Sikh religious symbols in Canada

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI One-third of British Columbians believe radicalized people live among us, according to a poll commissioned by The Province. The survey of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

suffer in silence

Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual abuse or harassment are many and varied. Recently, we have addressed some of…
Continue Reading »

wild pets

Two “snake catchers” arrested in India for illegally keeping venomous pets

VANCOUVER DESI Two men in Southern India who are known as local “snake catchers” have been arrested and thrown in jail for illegally keeping venomous…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi crime

Vancouver pimp who ran teen prostitution ring won’t be sentenced until next September

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The sentencing of convicted human trafficker and pimp Reza Moazami has been delayed nearly 10 months. In September, following a year-long…
Continue Reading »

Sitara Devi

Kathak star Sitara Devi dies after prolonged illness

IANS Mumbai – Eminent danseuse Sitara Devi, who once impressed Rabindranath Tagore with a three-hour solo recital, died here Tuesday after prolonged illness, leaving behind…
Continue Reading »

monkey main

Killer monkeys invade India after government issues wildlife preservation to protect wild apes

CEN AGENCY A ban on capturing monkeys in India has led to an explosion of ape attacks – some which are deadly – across the…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

sex video-Pakistan-Bollywood

Bollywood actress Veena Malik and her husband sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy

IANS Dubai – Controversial Bollywood actress Veena Malik has expressed “shock” at a Pakistan court sentencing her and her husband, among others, to 26 years…
Continue Reading »

Desi sex

Bollywood’s Emraan Hashmi says he never refused to work with Canadian pornstar Sunny Leone (w/gallery)

IANS Mumbai – Emraan Hashmi denies that he refused to work with adult film star Sunny Leone for a special song in “Ungli”. In fact,…
Continue Reading »

Barbie Handa-Priyanka Chopra-desi boobs-nude

Priyanka Chopra: Mannara has lived up to her role in ‘Zid’

IANS Mumbai – Actress Priyanka Chopra is all praise for her cousin Mannara’s debut Bollywood performance in “Zid” and says she has perfectly lived up…
Continue Reading »