PESHAWAR, April 10: A Tajik family who have lived in Pakistan as illegal immigrants since 1997 has appealed to the UNHCR to provide asylum in Pakistan or any other country.

Amirhamza Halimov, a father of four, complained that he submitted his application with UNHCR sub-office Peshawar to get refugee status, but office concerned had yet to process his case.

In a letter addressed to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Mr Halimov said that his family faced persecution in his native country, while various state agencies were pressuring him to leave Pakistan. He says under the present circumstances he could not go back to Tajikistan.

He claimed that the political environment there was not conducive for the opposition groups to return to their country and the government was still targeting its opponents.

Narrating his ordeal Mr Halimov said that he and his family left his country in 1997, because the Tajik government was victimizing its political opponents and had killed many opposition activists over the last couple of years.

First, the letter said, he crossed into Afghanistan and then moved to Pakistan and filed an application with the UNHCR to get refugee status. He said that had been in touch with the UNHCR sub-office for three years, but in vain.

He requested to the UNHCR’s chief Rudd Lubber to take notice of the miseries faced by his family and treat his case under the 1951 Geneva Conventions and grant refugee status.