May 30, 2013
NOTHING hurts a loving father and husband more than having a barrier between him and his family.
For Rockhampton man Mohammad Raza Azad, those barriers were 9500km of sea and land and an immigration officer.
In his country of origin, the Afghani refugee suffered persecution from the dominant Pashtun, Tajik and Uzbek communities, who are Sunni Muslims.
Because of the turmoil in Afghanistan, Mohammad and his family fled to Quetta in Northern Pakistan. When coalition forces entered Afghanistan to fight against the religious extremism of the Taliban, he returned to work as a translator for American troops.
After two years, the Taliban targeted Mohammad and he returned to Quetta and registered as a refugee. He was advised that because of the large number of refugees from Afghanistan, it would be at least 14 years before his application to a western country could be approved.
His wife Kaniz asked him to find a safe country for their family to live so he took his documents and savings and went to Indonesia. There he paid a people smuggler to take him to Australia on a boat. The Australian Navy intercepted the boat.
After four months, Mohammad’s application for a humanitarian visa was granted and he was transferred to Christmas Island in October, 2009, for processing. He came to Australia in February, 2010.
Since then, he has lived away from his family. That was until April this year, when his two children and wife Kaniz joined him permanently from Pakistan.
“I love my family and am so happy we are finally together,” he said.