THE story of Nida Naseer is about a shy 18-year-old girl who has disappeared.

It is about her family and friends and the trauma they are going through.

It is about the enormous efforts being made by the police and others to find Nida.

But is is not about asylum seekers.

This newspaper has known since Nida was first reported missing on December 28 that she and her family are asylum seekers from Pakistan.

We have not reported it because, frankly, it is irrelevant to the story, and because we feared the focus would move from the search for Nida to people making political points.

It is now in the public domain because Nida's family decided to talk about it at yesterday's latest press conference.

Sadly, initial public response on our website proved our concerns to be correct.

Some comments concentrated solely on the immigration status of Nida's family rather than the search for her. Sadly, a growing number of thoughtless comments meant we had to close the comments facility last night.

That is a great shame and undoubtedly not representative of how most of our readers think.

The Naseers have failed in their initial bid for asylum on the grounds of religious persecution. They are appealing the decision, and have every right to continue living here pending the result of their appeal.

What really matters to the Naseers is the safe return of Nida.

That shoud be the primary concern of everyone.