Pakistani family face deportation  in Belgium after son pictured with cricket bat

Pakistani family face deportation in Belgium after son pictured with cricket bat

Pakistani family face deportation in Belgium after son pictured with cricket bat

Written by Staff Writer

25 Nov, 2014 | 3:32 pm

Assim Abassi, a young Pakistani cricket player, and his entire family have lost their right to live in Belgium after he was identified as a terrorist for carrying his bat on public transport.

A photograph of Mr Abassi, 22, apparently armed with a weapon was circulated by the police last week generating a terror scare following anattack on the Jewish museum in Brussels earlier this year.

As soon as he saw the pictures in a newspaper, the young Pakistani man contacted the police to say that he was not armed but only carrying his cricket bat on way to a practice session.

“I wrapped my bat in my sweatshirt because it was raining and if it is wet I can’t play the ball properly,” he said.

The police photographs of a bearded Asian man carrying what appeared to be a rifle in a fashionable shopping district led to newspaper headlines warning of an “anti-Semitic killer” on the loose in Brussels.

In the summer, Mehdi Nemmouche, a French-born Islamist who had returned from fighting in Syria, was arrested and charged with the murders of four people after the attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels.

Despite Assim contacting the police, the entire Abassi family of seven has lost its right to live in Belgium after the Pakistani embassy in Brussels sacked his father, a diplomat, for damaging Pakistan’s reputation.

“We got a call from the embassy saying give us your passports,” said Mr Abassi.

“We’ve lost the privilege of living in Belgium. I’ve lost my education. I’ve lost everything.”

The Belgian police have been criticised for failing to apologise to the cricket player and local MPs have taken up his case. The Pakistani embassy has refused to comment.

-Telegraph

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