The Home Office has refused to grant a visit visa to the father of the chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council.
Mohammad Zahir Zazai was hoping to come to Britain to see his son Sabir receive an honorary doctorate.
Sabir Zazai won the Lord Provost’s award for human rights this year and will be given a doctorate from the University of Glasgow for 20 years’ work in civil services.
But Mr Zazai’s father won’t be at the ceremony to see his son receive the award because the Home Office won’t allow him the necessary visa.
Mr Zazai told the Guardian: “I feel that I’m in a high security prison where I’m not allowed family visits.
“I also feel that because of my background as an asylum seeker, my daughters, both British citizens, are being denied their right to a family life because they’re not allowed to meet their grandfather.”
Mr Zazai received a letter from the private secretary of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) director general on 13 May. It explained the Home Office doesn’t believe Mr Zazai’s father would return home after flying to the UK to spend time with his family.
The case has been taken up with a number of MPs, two of whom have raised the issue in the House of Commons.
One was Labour MP Ged Killen, who said: “UKVI staff are working under enormous pressure and mistakes happen, but in this case there simply isn’t the time for mistakes, that is why I asked the Home Secretary to intervene and I am extremely disappointed he has ignored that request.”
Mr Zazai has seen widespread support in his fight to see his father present at his special moment. Patrick Grady, an SNP MP, raised a parliamentary question on the matter on Wednesday.
While SNP MP Carol Monaghan said she was “astounded” by the decision and is working to see it overruled.
Mohammad Zahir Zazai has been denied permission in the past. In 2013, he missed his son’s graduation from the University of Leicester, and he was also unable to celebrate his son’s 40th birthday and spend time with his granddaughter on her fifth birthday.
A spokesperson at the Home Office said: “We are urgently looking into this case and will be in touch with the applicant in due course.”
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