Australia mulls citizenship for Pakistani guard in Sydney mall attack

PM Anthony Albanese says Muhammad Taha showed ‘extraordinary courage’ during attack

AFP April 18, 2024
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri visit Muhammad Taha, the Pakistani citizen who sustained serious injuries while saving others in Bondi Junction Sydney attacks. PHOTO: X/ Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri

Australia's prime minister said on Thursday he will consider granting citizenship to a Pakistani security guard wounded in the deadly Sydney shopping centre knife attack.

The guard, Muhammad Taha, reportedly said he believed he "deserved recognition and consideration for citizenship" after being stabbed.

In a bedside interview with The Australian, Taha said he was attacked just after fellow Pakistani security guard Faraz Tahir, one of the six people killed at the Westfield shopping complex in Bondi Junction.

Taha has a graduate visa due to expire in less than a month, the paper said.

Read more: Several injured in Sydney in the second stabbing incident in three days

The guard reportedly noted that Frenchman Damien Guerot, since dubbed "bollard man", had been offered permanent residency after a video shared on social media showed him using a bollard to fend off the attacker, Joel Cauchi.

Asked in a radio interview if the Australian government would entertain Taha's citizenship request, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: "Yes, we certainly will."

Albanese described the killing of Faraz Tahir as a "tragedy".

Also read: Pakistani man among those killed in Sydney attack 

"This other person, Muhammad Taha, he confronted this guy, the perpetrator, Joel Cauchi, on Saturday. And it just shows extraordinary courage," the prime minister said.

Both men put themselves in danger to protect Australians they did not know, Albanese said.

"That's the sort of courage that we want to say thank you to, frankly."

Albanese said Guerot would receive permanent residency, which he had been seeking, on Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday hailed Guerot and his fellow Frenchman Silas Despreaux for trying to stop the mall attacker.


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