Online petition calls on Minister to revoke deportation order for Pakistani nurse

Vekash Khokhar will perform on Abbey Stage hours before his scheduled deportation

An online petition calling for the Minister for Justice to grant a nurse from Pakistan permission to remain in Ireland has attracted nearly 6,000 signatures just days ahead of the young man's deportation.

Vekash Khokhar has been living in direct provision since he came to Ireland in 2015. The trained nurse, who up until recently volunteered five days a week in a nursing home in Co Longford, has been served with a deportation order and told he must leave the country by Monday, August 27th.

Mr Khokhar, an intensive care unit nurse from the city of Karachi in Pakistan, will be spending the days leading up to his scheduled deportation volunteering at the World Meeting of Families event at the RDS. He will also be volunteering as a steward at the Festival of families event in Croke Park on Saturday and as Eucharistic Minister at the Papal Mass on Sunday.

On Monday, just hours before he is due to leave the country, Mr Khokhar will be part of a dance troupe performing at the 'Jimmy's Hall Today' event taking place in the Abbey Theatre to raise awareness of deportation in Ireland.


The online petition, which has attracted 5,905 signatures to date, has called on Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to grant Mr Khokhar permission to remain in Ireland.

“In a country starved of qualified nurses, Vicky has an offer in writing for a job with a local Nursing Home,” writes the petition. “He is awaiting English exam results and recognition of his qualifications to obtain a working visa.”

During his time in Ireland, Mr Khokhar has volunteered in the local samba band, the local church, St Mel’s Cathedral, St. Mel’s Musical Society, the Attic Youth Cafe and dance projects, it writes, adding that if deported, he will be banned from returning to Ireland for a decade and could face imprisonment in Pakistan.

“It makes no sense to send him back and he risks getting lost in the system and never making it back to Ireland where he is valued and needed. Vicky is exactly the kind of person we want in our communities. Lets make this work for him.”

In an interview with The Irish Times earlier this year Mr Khokhar described his joy at being able to volunteer at the local nursing home.

“When I go to the nursing home I feel energetic and I never feel tired after work. I leave all my stress, my worries, my problems, outside the nursing home. For nine hours at least I can have a good life, good chats with the residents and good moments.

“All I can say to the people of Ireland is I’m trying to make a home here and if I can stay, I’ll be very lucky. And maybe the day will come when the Irish people will also feel proud to have a refugee like me working and living in their country.”

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast