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Saturday May 18, 2024

Australia mulls citizenship for Pakistani guard

By Reuters
April 19, 2024
Australias Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks during the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 5, 2023. — AFP
Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks during the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 5, 2023. — AFP

SYDNEY: 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.

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.”

“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.