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Gary Lineker’s humanitarian stance should be a “point of pride for the British public”, according to the refugee who stayed at the BBC presenter’s £4million home in Surrey for several weeks. Lineker was introduced to Rasheed Baluch through the charity Refugees At Home back in 2020, where the law student was given free accommodation for 20 days back in 2020.
Rasheed had fled the mountainous Balochistan region between Pakistan and Iran, where his wife still lives. Speaking to the Sunday Mirror about his experience living with the Match of the Day host, Rasheed admitted that Lineker covered all his travel costs and called the former England international a “caring and human loving man”.
He said: “He is friendly and open-minded. He loved to listen to me when I shared my story about the situation in my country and the plight of my people. “Gary was comfortable with my company and conversation. That’s why he listened to me attentively.
“Although Gary is a star, he leads a simple life. He is never proud of his status. He is a very sympathetic, caring and human loving man. He gave me an Oyster card which contained £100 top-up for my transport to university.”
Rasheed’s comments come after Lineker was embroiled in a controversial row with the BBC over a remark he made likening the Government’s asylum policy to 1930s Germany. And he backed Lineker for speaking out against the Government’s proposals for deporting migrants, insisting the British public should be proud.
“He has been given the right of freedom, right of thought and expression,” he added. “So if the institutions react so negatively against the statement of Gary, it is undemocratic and unfair.
“Gary has come forward to defend humanity. It should be a point of pride for the British public.”
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Lineker reacted to Rasheed’s comments on social media, tweeting: “Ah Rasheed, how sweet of you.”
The 62-year-old also took in a second refugee after Rasheed, who had escaped from Turkey after being imprisoned for 18 months. He said in October 2022: “He’s a really smart kid and wants to be a rocket scientist, actually.
“He was with us about a month and was such a sweet kid and has now gone to university. He got out. And then he spent 18 months in our Home Office system where he was treated like s***. He said it was hell.”
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