Danger to Jamila Bibi of Saskatoon in Pakistan real: journalist Bina Shah
Journalist says adultery charge can mask previous conflict
A Pakistan journalist says the danger to 63-year-old Jamila Bibi is very real.
Bibi was working as a cook in Saskatoon until her deportation to her native Pakistan. Her lawyer fears for her safety because of outstanding adultery charges, and the possibility of her being targetted for an honour killing.
Journalist Bina Shah says those fears are justified. She says that adultery charges are often used to mask other conflicts in a family.
Pakistan has a widespread problem of violence against women.- Bina Shah
"It's very common for a woman to be accused of this when there is a previous conflict over something like land or inheritance, things like that. This isn't uncommon at all, " said Shah.
"Unfortunately, Pakistan has a widespread problem of violence against women."
Shah says there is a disconnect between the law and reality.
"Pakistan unfortunately, has a culture in which women are not considered to be equal citizens.That is not our legal standing, but that is our standing of the mindset of a vast majority of Pakistanis."
Lawyer Bashir Khan says Jamila Bibi was flown out of Toronto on Tuesday afternoon. She had been in detention in Prince Albert, Sask., until officials escorted her late Monday to Saskatoon. She flew out of Saskatoon early Tuesday morning.
Khan added his client has been barred from re-entering Canada on any visa in the future.
Bibi faces a criminal charge for adultery in Pakistan and Khan believes his client is at risk of being killed by her husband's family in her native land.
On Monday a judge from the Federal Court of Canada rejected Bibi's latest appeal of her deportation order, setting the stage for her removal early Tuesday morning.
Still escorted by officials, she was put on a plane in Saskatoon and left the province for a connecting flight in Toronto.
Bibi arrived in Canada on a visa in 2006 and eventually submitted a refugee claim hoping to remain in the country. That application was rejected. In addition to the adultery charge, Bibi faces an assault charge in Pakistan, although the details of what is alleged are not known.
Khan says Canada risks breaking international law by sending her back to Pakistan.
He called the woman's detention and deportation an arbitrary move by federal authorities.
Canada not following UN convention, lawyer says
According to Khan, because Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment the government should have allowed Bibi to stay in Canada until a UN review of her case was completed.
CBC News asked federal officials why Bibi was detained and deported.
On Monday an official from the Canada Border Services Agency sent a prepared statement to CBC News saying the agency has a duty to enforce removal orders "as soon as possible."
"As well, prior to removal a person has access to a number of legal avenues of recourse," the statement added. "Once all legal avenues of recourse have been exhausted, the person is expected to respect our laws and leave Canada or be removed."
The official noted that, for safety and security reasons, they do not provide details on their enforcement activities on specific cases.
On Tuesday officials from the federal ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which oversees the Canada Border Services Agency, provided a similar statement:
"Removals from Canada are undertaken with the utmost care for the safety of those being removed. Prior to a removal, expert officials conduct a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment to measure all potential risks to an individual. Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process and removal orders are subject to various levels of judicial review. However, once all avenues of recourse are exhausted, Canada Border Service Agency officers are mandated by law to remove those who are inadmissible to Canada."
The statement also touched on Canada's immigration system, in general.
"Canada has one of the most generous immigration systems in the world, admitting 250,000 new immigrants each year," the statement said. "Canada welcomes those who play by the rules and obey our laws. At no time will we compromise the integrity of our immigration system."
The minister's office also declined to address Bibi's situation directly, noting they can not comment due to the Privacy Act.
With files from CBC's Madeline Kotzer and The Canadian Press