Photo: ARG

Female judge stranded in Pakistan wins court battle to be granted asylum in the UK

A female judge who was in hiding in Pakistan after fleeing the Taliban has been granted sanctuary in the UK.

According to The Guardian, The 53-year-old woman, who has not been named for security reasons, was granted the right to come to the UK after a long legal battle with the British government.

She and her adult son crossed the border into Pakistan after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The judge had worked as a senior judge in Afghanistan for two decades, and had adjudicated cases involving the Taliban in crimes such as murder, kidnapping, violence against women, rape, terrorism offences and conspiring against the Afghan government.

She was at risk of reprisals from the Taliban, and had been living in hiding in Pakistan.

The UK Home Office initially refused to grant her and her son permission to come to the UK, but they were eventually accepted to the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

They recently arrived in the UK and have been reunited with British relatives.

The judge said she was “overjoyed” to finally be safe in the UK.

“The last almost two years have been the most gruelling time we’ve ever been through,” she said.

“Our initial hope to be granted a visa to come to the UK over time turned into hopelessness and despair.”

“Now that we are finally safe in the UK, we so much enjoy being able to walk around safely and freely now, sitting in our family’s garden and feeling just peace around us, and sleeping quietly and comfortably, knowing next day we will wake up in our safe new home.”

Lawyers who acted for the judge and her son said they were “so relieved” for them.

“She, her son and their family in the UK have been living with the constant threat of deportation to Afghanistan hanging over their heads for almost two years, which has really taken its toll. We are thrilled to see them reunited at last, but remain concerned about the other vulnerable Afghans, including judges, who remain in hiding.”

The British government has been widely criticised for its handling of Afghanistan evacuation and the treatment of refugees. It has been accused of neglecting those who worked with British forces, who are stranded in Pakistan.

A government spokesperson said: “Whilst we don’t comment on individual cases, we remain committed to providing protection for vulnerable and at-risk people fleeing Afghanistan – including female judges – and so far have brought around 24,500 people to the UK. We continue to work with like-minded partners and countries neighbouring Afghanistan on resettlement issues, and to support safe passage for eligible people.”