NEARLY 45,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Home Office to cease attempts to deport two teenage brothers to Pakistan where they fear they will be killed.

Somer and Areeb Umeed Bakhsh, who are 15 and 13 respectively, believe they and their parents will be murdered by Islamic extremists if they are forced to leave Scotland.

The campaign against the family’s deportation has been backed by the Reverend Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, as well as Paul Sweeney, MP for Glasgow North East, and Bob Doris, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn.

The moderator said it would be “cruel” to tear the boys away from their school and friends and send them to a country they left when they were nine and seven-years-old.

Maqsood Bakhsh, his wife Parveen and their sons have been seeking asylum in Glasgow since 2012. They left Pakistan after the murder of two Christians in police custody, gunned down outside a court in Faisalabad.

Bakhsh, who was a data analyst in Pakistan and has two masters degrees, says the people responsible for their deaths know who he is and would kill him and his family if they return to Pakistan.

He said it was “extremely frustrating” to have been banned from working for more than six years.

“Continuous waiting and uncertainty is giving us mental stress and I have lost 13lbs in two months,” he added.

“My wife is taking antidepressants and our children become distressed when they see us stressed.”

Bakhsh, 50, an elder at Possilpark Parish Church in Glasgow, said it was “amazing” that so many people had signed the 38 Degrees petition to date. He said: “We are thankful to each one of them because it is not easy to cope with the situation that we are facing.”

The petition was started by Reverend Linda Pollock, minister at Possilpark Parish Church.

“It is very heartening that so many people agree that it would be an utter travesty if two naturalised Scottish boys who have so much to give to our country were deported to a foreign land that is alien to them,” she said.

“We ought to be nurturing these youngsters, who still have so much to offer our community, not placing them in an unbearable situation where they are publicly begging for life.

“It feels as if Somer and Areeb are being treated not as boys, alive with hopes and dreams, but as numbers on a list.”

The family have exhausted the appeal system and face turning to the courts if they can raise money for legal costs.

Doris said he had written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, arguing there was a compelling case for the Bakhsh family to stay in Scotland.

“It’s appalling that yet another family who are a real asset to the communities I represent face being deported from Scotland,” he said.

“Not only do the Bakhsh family have a very real fear of religious persecution if they are sent back to Pakistan, but the family’s two sons, Somer and Areeb, are settled and excelling at school.

“Allowing the family to stay is in our nation’s interests.”

Sweeney said he was “really pleased” that so many people had pledged their support for the family.

“Despite Theresa May’s best efforts to create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, the people of Glasgow clearly have different ideas,” he added.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and every case is assessed on its individual merits.”