POLITICS

Saskatoon couple bring adopted boy home from Pakistan after lengthy legal battle

05/19/2015 05:05 EDT | Updated 05/19/2016 05:59 EDT
SASKATOON - A legal battle is over for a Saskatchewan couple, who have been trying for the last few years to bring their adopted son home from Pakistan.

Waheeda and Ashfaq Afridi arrived in Saskatoon on the weekend with their little boy, Ajjab.

The family's immigration lawyer, Haidah Amirzadeh, says the four-year-old was laughing and running around with excitement.

The Afridis adopted the boy, a nephew, when he was born in 2010.

Authorities in Pakistan approved the arrangement but Canada denied a permanent residence application for the child.

Last November, the appeal division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ruled in the couple's favour and granted the child a sponsorship visa.

The paperwork process then took several more months.

Waheeda Afridi, who had been waiting with the boy in Pakistan since he was born, arrived in Canada a few days earlier than expected, says her lawyer.

The woman was supposed to spend some time in Toronto before returning with the boy to Saskatoon, says Amirzadeh. But her husband flew there to surprise her and the boy, and they all came home together.

Unfortunately, there was no one to greet them at the airport.

"She was kind of disappointed because it was completely quiet. She was expecting friends would be there, I would be there," says Amirzadeh.

"I was expecting her to be here Wednesday."

She says the mother, who suffered from health problems while in Pakistan, is feeling weak but happy. She plans to thank everyone who supported their fight to bring Ajjab to Canada.

"She was really flourishing and establishing herself in Canada and, all of a sudden, she had to go backwards and stay somewhere trapped," Amirzadeh says.

She says the family still needs to apply to get the boy Canadian citizenship. But, for now, the focus will be on getting him used to his new life here.

“The main thing is for the little boy to get adjusted and go to school in the coming September."

Premier Brad Wall sent greetings on Twitter to the family: "Welcome home!"

(CKOM, The Canadian Press)