On Friday morning, 74-year-old Nazir Ahmad died while visiting his children in Griffith, after suffering two strokes in two months.
His dying wish – for his wife to see him in his final days – was denied by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, who rejected her visitor visa application.
Now Mr Ahmad’s children are pleading for the department to at least allow his wife Nasreen Kauser to come here for her husband’s funeral.
Mr Ahmad, an Australian citizen who mostly lives in Pakistan, came to Griffith to visit his children in March. While here, he suffered a stroke, and was admitted to Griffith Base Hospital in a critical condition.
A doctor at the hospital wrote to the immigration department, asking “on compassionate grounds I would like to request that his wife Nassen Kausar be granted an urgent visa to visit Australia/Griffith”.
The family say four days ago the visitor visa was nevertheless rejected by immigration. Mr Ahmad suffered a second stroke last week and died on Friday.
Erum Shaista, daughter of the couple, said she could not understand the decision.
“My mother has visited Australia three times before. They granted her visa then, and she always followed the rules. She never overstayed.”
Mrs Shaista said the department questioned the legitimacy of the marriage and thought Ms Kausar would try and stay in Australia permanently.
“My parents have been married for almost 30 years,” Mrs Shaista said.
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When asked why the visa was rejected, an immigration department spokesperson said, “proposed visits of a compassionate nature are always carefully considered, however anyone wishing to visit Australia must satisfy Australia’s visitor visa requirements, including health, character and genuine temporary stay requirements”.
“Due to privacy reasons, we cannot provide information relating to specific individuals and their circumstances”.
The family said they appealed to the federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to assist them, but found her unhelpful.
When contacted by The Area News after Mr Ahmad’s death, Ms Ley said, “this a very upsetting time for the family of Nazir and my thoughts are with them all.”
“At all times our office does its best to assist with immigration and visa matters and this was certainly no different in Nasreen’s case.The Immigration Department rejected her recent visa applications, the reasons for which, on privacy grounds, I cannot disclose. This meant our final option would have been a personal appeal to Minister Dutton which I offered to do when I met with the family last week.”
Ms Shaista said she now wants the immigration department to at least allow her mother to come for the funeral.
“My mother won’t even cry, she is in shock. She is all alone in Pakistan, she needs to be with us.”
Mr Ahmad came to Australia in 1971. He worked at a labourer and has had stints living in both Pakistan and Australia since then.
He married Nasreen Kauser in the mid-1980s and they have six children together, four of whom now live in Australia.
Ms Shaista said her father was “always a gentleman”, while Tamour Nazir, his son, said “my father was the strongest person in the world”.