Hazara Asylum Seekers

February 09, 2013

MOHAMMAD Hussein is in no-man’s-land. The 30-year-old Pakistani from Quetta, where about 120 people were blown up in multiple terrorist attacks last month, has been waiting in Indonesia for 10 years for refugee status to enter Australia. The bomb blasts are a rude reminder of why he won’t budge from his objective.

Now he’s lingering in the waiting room of Jakarta’s immigration centre, a respite from the detention area and a reward for his interpreting skills. Sometimes the illegal immigrant ventures into the teeming metropolis “to refresh my mind”. But he always returns to his home of two years. He has nowhere else to go and no money.

Contending for the past decade with an overburdened bureaucracy that perhaps regards his case as tenuous, or disingenuous, the Shi’ite Muslim has been shunted from one Indonesian detention shelter to another. He is fluent in Farsi, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia…

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