A FOREIGN national who abducted underage girls and sexually exploited them has been told he can return to East Lancashire when he comes out of jail.
Campaigners said they are outraged that Pakistani citizen Zulfar Hussain has won a court fight to stay following his imminent release from jail.
Hussain has won an appeal against deportation following his conviction for abducting and exploiting two vulnerable under-16 girls in Blackburn and Burnley.
Local campaigner Paul Houston, whose daughter Amy was killed by an illegal immigrant, said the news that he had been allowed to stay was 'appalling'.
And Blackburn MP and justice minister Jack Straw called the move 'concerning' and backed the Home Office's decision to appeal Hussian's bid to stay in the country.
Hussain, who previously lived in Cowell Way, Blackburn, with his family, was jailed in August 2007 for child abduction, sexual activity with a child and supplying youngsters with ecstasy.
He is due to be released ‘imminently’ as he is around halfway into a five years and eight months sentence imposed at Preston Crown Court.
Authorities had been set to deport him along with his fellow paedophile Qaiser Naveed, 34, formerly of Colne Road, Burnley, who admitted carrying out the same offences on under-age girls.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands that both men are still in prison, but are due to be released very soon.
Naveed - also a Pakistani national - is not opposing his deportation and will be kept in custody and will be sent to a high-security ‘Immigration Removal Centre’ which deals with serious offenders.
He will be detained there until he is deported to Pakistan.
However, Hussain, 48, successfully appealed against his deportation order, the Home Office said.
He is thought to have lived in the Blackburn area with his wife and children for around 10 years.
The Lancashire Telegraph also understands that the Home Office is currently appealing that decision to ensure Hussain is also sent to a immigration removal centre on his release from prison.
Hussain and Naveed were both ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for life and banned for life from associating with girls under the age of 16.
The case was one of the first major investigations into child sexual exploitation by the Engage team, formed after the Lancashire Telegraph’s Keep Them Safe campaign raised awareness of the issue.
The two girls had become involved in sexual relationships with the two older men who would take them to houses in Blackburn and Burnley, picking them up in Hussain’s BMW.
Police described the girls as ‘vulnerable’, with one living in a children’s home and another taken out of foster care after repeated truancy and placed in another home in Wales.
The men groomed them over several months, plying them with alcohol and drugs.
At sentencing, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC said: “This is a truly shocking offence.
"When young girls such as these are placed in care it can be because they need protection from themselves. They need nurturing. They need help.”
A Home Office spokesman confirmed that they are seeking to appeal the decision to allow him ‘leave to remain’, saying: “We always seek to remove those foreign nationals who break the law, focusing on the serious offenders as a priority.”
Blackburn MP and Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: “I'm very glad that the Home Office is appealing.
"If they had not, I would have been straight on to the Home Secretary Alan Johnson and he would have insisted on an appeal.
“We already passed legislation that if foreign nationals commit offences of this seriousness they will be deported and we want to see the courts enforcing that.”
Mr Houston, who is still campaigning to have Iraqi illegal immigrant Aso Mohammed Ibrahim deported, said: "It is difficult to understand a system that lets people like this remain in the country.
"They are foreign nationals and have no right to be here if they commit such dreadful crimes.
"It is disgusting to think this man will be back in East Lancashire. Anyone would say it cannot be right.
"We are being betrayed by the system in this country."
Coun Michael Law-Riding said: "I do think this man should be deported.
"One of the issues we need to look at closely at is how we can ensure that the right to a family life does not stop us protecting the community from foreign nationals who need to be deported due to criminality."