Family waits as departure looms

 Mohammed Kalim and his wife Firoza Begum. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Mohammed Kalim and his wife Firoza Begum. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The Balclutha family of a Fijian woman facing deportation remains on tenterhooks, after moves to effect an 11th-hour intervention continued yesterday.

Wheelchair-bound stroke victim Firoza Begum (57) is due to fly to Fiji with husband Mohammed Kalim (63) tomorrow, in order to comply with an Immigration New Zealand deportation order.

On Wednesday, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker and New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson registered separate appeals for compassionate intervention in the case with the office of Associate Immigration Minister Poto Williams.

Dunedin law firm Wilkinson Rodgers also made an offer of pro bono legal advice for the family.

A spokeswoman for Ms Williams said yesterday afternoon there had been no further developments in the request for ministerial intervention, although it was still under consideration.

Mrs Begum's daughter, Farina Shah, a New Zealand resident and businesswoman, said the family had arranged to talk to Wilkinson Rodgers managing partner Geoff Mirkin late yesterday afternoon.

They would decide today whether a further appeal in her mother's case was practicable, before taking appropriate action.

She said the family was "being strong" for her mother, and Mrs Begum was making the most of her remaining time with her grandchildren.

"If we get upset, it will only affect her health more severely. We want to remember happy times together."

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