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Christie Blatchford deplores lack of “kindness” in Canadian immigration policy

Christie Blatchford is a Canadian newspaper columnist, journalist and broadcaster.

Christie Blatchford: Canada shows lack of kindness in deporting harmless Pakistani woman

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 | September 16, 2014 7:57 PM ET
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Jamila Bibi was whisked away by two Canadian Border Services Agency officers early Tuesday morning at the Saskatoon airport, set for deportation to her native Pakistan.

Evan Radford/Postmedia NewsJamila Bibi was whisked away by two Canadian Border Services Agency officers early Tuesday morning at the Saskatoon airport, set for deportation to her native Pakistan.

When I saw the picture of a weeping Jamila Bibi in the Saskatoon Star PhoenixTuesday, I thought of only one thing, and that is, how Canada looks from the air.

I’ve flown across this country probably more than the average bear, most recently this summer from Prince George, B.C., to Moncton, N.B., when the shooting of four Mounties overtook the trial I was covering.

Lucky me, in the course of doing my job, I’ve seen Canada in all four seasons from the air. The only constant is how marvelously empty the country is, most of it.

Yet Canada couldn’t wait to deport Ms. Bibi, an unsophisticated woman from a village in Pakistan, Tuesday morning from the airport in Saskatoon. She and her friend and ally, Sahana Yeasmin, at whose restaurant Ms. Bibi had been working, said a tearful goodbye.

Ms. Bibi had been faithfully checking in weekly for the past 22 months, just as she had been ordered to do, and it was at one of these recent check-ins that authorities abruptly decided to remove her, despite a United Nations order to put the proceeding on hold until it was properly investigated.

Evan Radford/Postmedia NewsEvan Radford/Postmedia News

Jamila Bibi and Sahana Yeasmin, her friend and employer, cry at the Saskatoon airport as Bibi awaits deportation to Pakistan.

Her lawyer, Bashir Khan of Winnipeg, says she doesn’t know when she was born, but guesses she’s probably in her early 60s. He is enraged by her treatment, and so am I.

Ms. Bibi was sent back to a country where generally, women and girls are treated appallingly, where as the most recent report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women notes, child and forced marriage, “karo-kari” (a local term that covers a wide variety of allegedly immoral female behaviour and which empowers family members to commit an honour killing), stove-burning and acid throwing, marriage to the Koran, and polygamy all persist.

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