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Bakhtiaris 'headed for Afghanistan' according to Centacare head

Dale West, friend of the Bakhtiari family and head of the Centacare Adelaide, claims the Bakhtiari have left the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and are possibly heading for the Afghan border. The family arrived in Pakistan on Sunday morning, Australian time, but have not been seen since.

Mr West told the Sydney Morning Herald that on Monday he talked with people in Pakistan who had spoken with Montazar (the 14-year-old son of Ali and Roqia Bakhtiari) in Islamabad. Mr West's contacts believe the Bakhtiaris are well on their way to Afghanistan.

"The distance between Islamabad and the Afghan border is about 200 to 300 miles so if they have left I expect them to be there by now," said Mr West. "However, I can't say for certain if they are in Afghanistan."

ABC News reports a Pakistani immigration official has confirmed a family deported from Australia arrived in Islamabad on Sunday.

"We allowed them go after someone furnished a personal guarantee that they would return for investigations," he said.

The Pakistani immigration official said the family's nationality could not be ascertained because they did not have any passports or identification papers when they arrived in Islamabad.

"The person who gave guarantee later took them to Flashman's Hotel in nearby Rawalpindi," he said.

The hotel staff confirm that Bakhtiyaris came on Sunday, but were denied accommodation because they did not have passports or valid identification.

Bakhtiaris 'en route to Afghanistan' (Sydney Morning Herald 4/1/05)
Bakhtiyaris vanish after arriving in Pakistan (ABC News 4/1/05)

Edmund Rice Centre | Deported to Danger Report
Centacare Adelaide
Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

Bakhtiyaris deported to save face, says Centacare head (CathNews 4/1/05)
Fears for Bakhtiyaris' safety after deportation (CathNews 24/12/04)
Brigidine says Bakhtiyari family 'victims of cruel deed' (CathNews 23/12/04)
NZ refuses Bakhtiyari pleas (CathNews 21/12/04)
Headmaster blasts 'totalitarian' act on family (CathNews 21/12/04)
Students rally behind detained Bakhtiyari family (CathNews 20/12/04)
Headmaster optimistic over Bakhtiyari claims re-examination (CathNews 31/8/04)
Centacare director 'devastated' by Govt demands (CathNews 30/6/04)
Bishop's increased concern over Baxter situation (CathNews 13/12/04)

5 Jan 2005