A couple who had their windows smashed on their first nights in Blackburn are celebrating all three of their children qualifying as doctors.

Hafeez Buttar and wife Yasmin came to the UK in 2001 with their three children Hamid, Salman, and Hania, who were aged six, four and two at the time.

This month, their youngest child Hania graduated from Cardiff University following a five-year course in Medicine.

She follows in the remarkable footsteps of brothers Hamid, now aged 27 and Salman, 25, who are also doctors.

All three students passed with straight A’s whilst at Beardwood High School and Pleckgate High School and then went on to gain outstanding grades at A-levels.  

Dad, Hafeez, a taxi driver who came to Blackburn from Firozwala, near Lahore in Pakistan, told us it was not easy for his children and his wife settling in the UK. 

The siblings could not speak any English and they faced barriers simply fitting in at first.

When they moved to the Livesey area they had their windows smashed and then relocated to Malham Gardens and finally to their home in Lincoln Road, Audley.

Mr Buttar said: “I remember at the age of two, Hania then had a dog set on her.

“It was a difficult period and one which the whole family went through.

“At the time though we had a dream that they would all become doctors. It is wonderful that they have.”

Hania, who will be the first female doctor in her family said the "incredible" journey had not always been easy.

“I always felt it would be a shame if we didn’t study," she said.

"We saw the sacrifices our parents put in and we wanted to honour those sacrifices.

"My dad would work some crazy hours to ensure we were financially stable and my mum was always there and never complained once.

“Although my brothers went to private school – QEGS - for their A-levels I just told my dad at the time I couldn’t expect him to do it a third time.

"I always thought it matters more on the student themselves and if they have the determination to succeed.

“Medicine is hard work and can be stressful. It is a reality check and in many ways shows you the fragility of life.

“But it is fulfilling in so many ways. I am certainly looking towards the future.”

Asian Image:

Nasir Buttar the children's grandad, Hafeez Buttar and the children when they arrived in the UK in 2001

Hamid, who has worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has set his sights on becoming a surgeon.

He said: “Medicine is not for everyone but it is a satisfying career as you are making a real difference to people’s lives.

“During the pandemic it was tough for all of those working in the health profession. I saw young people suffering and I experienced the worst of it.”

Hania will go on to work at Royal Lancaster Infirmary in the coming months, said: “Having been away from home for so long it is good to be back in the area.”

She thanked her brothers for their support, adding “I would like to say it was a team effort and they were really helpful during the course.

"Medicine is a long course during which you develop as a person.”

Salman also studied at Cardiff for his degree and is set to begin at Scunthorpe General Hospital in Lincolnshire.

He said: “We both studied at Cardiff together and having a sibling at the same medical school allowed us to support each other.

"I took great pride in being there for my younger sister throughout what feels like a gruelling but a very worthwhile journey.”

Asian Image:

Hafeez and Yasmin Buttar with Hania

Mr Buttar said he had to enrol in English Language classes when he first arrived. He credited his wife for her unwavering support of the children and the family.

Yasmin was a teacher whilst in Pakistan and proved to be a solid foundation for the children.

Mum Yasmin said she was insistent on helping the children whenever she could.

"I used to spend a lot of time with them whilst they were studying. Sometimes late into the night," she said.

“I didn’t want them to go through the exams and the studying alone.”

When asked if he ever though all three would be doctors Mr Buttar added: “If I am going to be honest I thought the two boys would do it. But then Hania has achieved even higher marks than the boys! 

“I am so proud of all three of them. It is a dream come true for us as a family to have all three children qualify.”