KARACHI: Parents of a child stuck in an orphanage in Lahore have said they weep every night after having to leave him behind while they came to the United Kingdom.
Amin Rasheed and wife Anila Amin had to leave Ashar, seven, with his grandmother to get help for their seriously ill son Shahryar, five.
But after falling ill, she put Ashar in an orphanage in December and now the family is desperate to get him a visa.
The British Home Office said it “did not routinely comment on individual cases”.
“There’s not any night I could sleep without crying, without weeping for him, the same goes for his mother,” said Mr Rasheed, who lives in Cardiff.
“Whenever we talk to him he cries a lot. He is unable to understand what is wrong, he says, ‘why am I here? why am I not with you?’, ‘I don’t want to live anymore,’ and ‘it’s a very scary place’.”
The family, from Lahore, raised thousands of pounds to come to the UK in April 2019, after their youngest son, Shahryar, became seriously ill and doctors back home could not treat him.
When a visa application for the whole family was refused, the couple left their eldest child, Ashar, behind with his grandmother in the hope they would return in a matter of weeks.
But after finding out Shahryar had a life-threatening illness, which has left him paralysed from the neck down, they have been unable to go back home.
Ashar was placed in an orphanage after his grandmother got too ill to care for him.
Mr Rasheed said he was really worried his eldest son could have the same rare genetic condition, which can be triggered by the wrong diet.
“We are unable to sleep since the time he has been in the orphanage. It’s really difficult to explain what exactly we are feeling,” he said.
The family is now desperately trying to raise money to get Ashar to Cardiff so they can test him to check if he has the genetic condition.
The family, living in Roath, believes Shahryar’s illness was triggered by a stomach bug and said they had no choice but to come to the UK after he became a “skeleton”.
Mr Rasheed said Shahryar’s seizures were now under control and he had started to eat and even speak a few words.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020