Refugee who lived with Gary Lineker praises 'sympathetic, human-loving man'

Refugee who lived with Gary Lineker praises 'sympathetic, human-loving man'
Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer return to television after BBC row

Gary Lineker has been described as a "sympathetic, human-loving man" by a refugee who the Match of the Day presenter welcomed into his home.

Rasheed Baluch, a law student and human rights activist fled his home country of Pakistan out of fear for his safety and was forced to leave his wife behind.

He then stayed in Linker's home in 2020 for 20 days, thanks to the help of UK charity Refugees at Home, while he studied his law course.

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The 35-year-old has since shared his experience of living with Lineker in an exclusive interview with The Mirror,where he described how the former footballer "loved to listen" about his situation back in Pakistan and that the TV star "leads a simple life."

"He [Lineker] 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," Baluch said.

"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."

After living with Lineker, Baluch stayed with RaH co-founder Sara Nathan for a month and then managed to get his own place.

Lineker has recently been in the headlines over an impartiality row with the BBC after he compared the government's controversial asylum policy on small boats to language used in 1930's Germany.

After being suspended from presenting duties and a boycott from his MOTD colleagues, Lineker and the BBC “navigated a way” through the disagreement for him to return as host.

Balcuch supported Lineker's decision to speak out against the government.

“He [Lineker] has been given the right of freedom, right of thought and expression. So if the institutions react so negatively against the statement of Gary, it is undemocratic and unfair."

The refugee added: “Gary has come forward to defend humanity. It should be a point of pride for the British public.”

Previously, Lineker shared a letter on Twitter and Instagram that Baluch penned to him which read: "When I was moving to your home, I was worried that you might be unfriendly and conservative but it was all reverse what I thought.

"During my stay in your beautiful home, I never felt that I am a stranger or guest but it seemed to me as if I am a member of your family.

"I can never forget your hospitality, love and company that you and your lovely respectful children gave to me."

Elsewhere, Lineker returned to BBC television for the first time since the impartiality row on Saturday (March 18).

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