The appellant (SA) feared persecution at the hands of opposition party members, principally from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The appellant and his brother had suffered personal attacks from 2005 onwards.
Since 2008 there had been widespread riots in SA’s home area and tensions between the various political parties worsened, expressing themselves in violent clashes at demonstrations and election meetings.
In early 2009 members of opposing parties burnt down SA’s businesses then killed his brother. He and his family went to stay at his brother-in-law’s house in Islamabad and later at a place in Muree where he had relatives but lived furtively. In Islamabad he and his family received threats to their life via friends and relatives.
Despite finding the appellant a reliable witness, the IJ dismissed the appeal. Amongst other things the IJ held that to avoid adverse attention SA could relocate to another part of Pakistan, as indeed he had done for several weeks after his brother had been killed. There was no evidence, the IJ said, that the appellant’s wife and children had been the focus of attention from the PPP supporters. Relocation was therefore an option.
The Upper Tier held SA should not be expected to return to Pakistan and give up his active involvement in the PMLQ and his pursuit of his legitimate grievances against local PPP members who destroyed his property, frequently conducted personal attacks again him and his brother, murdered his brother and then subjected him and his family to serious threats and intimidation.
The only way SA could achieve safety by relocation was if he effectively decided to live in hiding or in political exile. In UK asylum law, requiring a political activist to live away from his home area in order to avoid persecution at the hands of his political opponents has never been considered a proper application of the internal relocation principle: see e.g. Nolan J in R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal, ex p.Jonah  Imm AR 7; para 339O of the Immigration Rules (Article 8 of the Qualification Directive) and as emphasised by the Supreme Court in HJ(Iran)  UKSC 31.
The appellant (MB) claimed asylum on the basis that in 1987 he was forced to become a member of the Muslim group Jaamat al Muslimeen (JAM). He feared persecution from members of JAM having disobeyed the orders of their leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, to assist in an attempted coup against the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 1990.
Following the attempted coup, the appellant fled to the USA and returned to Trinidad and Tobago 10 years later where he remained for two years before travelling to the United Kingdom.
In the First Tier, the appeal judge broadly found the appellant’s evidence to be credible and consistent with background material. Specifically, whilst accepting that, just before departure, the appellant had been shot at by men believed to be associated with JAM, the IJ found that the appellant had failed to take serious steps to avail himself of state protection.
The appellant’s reluctance to seek police assistance was held to be partly or substantially motivated by concerns about disclosing to them his own past association with the JAM and his involvement in criminal activities. The IJ went concluded that the fact that he had lived a relatively normal life for a period of two years suggested that both the risk and the level of interest by JAM might be relatively limited.
On appeal to the Upper Tribunal, the issue was limited to whether the Government could provide sufficient protection.
The Tribunal held that there can be no doubt that the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago are willing to operate an effective system for the detection, prosecution and punishment of acts constituting persecution or serious harm of its citizens. However, given the current crisis in the policing and criminal justice system, in general, even persons who are witnesses or potential witnesses in trials involving serious organised crimes, will not receive effective protection either in the short or longer term, whether or not admitted to a witness protection programme. For persons facing a real risk of being persecuted and/or other serious harm at the hands of Jaamat al Muslimeen (JAM), the state is currently unable to afford effective protection.