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Pakistan Authorities Free Christian Slaves

ICC Note: Christians are often forced into slavery in Pakistan because of their poor economic position.

By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan
11/21/08 LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife) – Five Christians held as slaves in Pakistan’s Punjab province were free Friday, November 21, after Pakistani law enforcement authorities intervened and detained their Muslim captors in a case that underscored concerns over slavery in this country, officials said.

Local police cooperating with the Lahore High Court pressed charges against five Muslim landlords who allegedly detained four people of a Christian family for “bonded labor,” BosNewsLife learned.

The Muslims, identified as Muhammad Siddique, Zulfiqar Warraich, Adil, Ijaz and Faisal Ijaz, forcibly chained Wilson Masih and his two sons Amin Masih, Zafar Masih and daughter-in-law Fouzia Bibi, and forced them for labor, according to prosecutors.

More details were not immediately released following the Monday, November 17, hearing, which was held amid mounting tensions between minority Christians and Islamic extremists in Punjab and other regions of Pakistan. At the same day another Christian man, Shamsher Masih, 25, was freed from his Muslim captor, police and Christian sources said.

“CRUEL LANDLORD”

Christians closely following the trial told BosNewsLife that a “cruel Muslim landlord”, indentified as Irfan Awan of Lahorianwali region had chained Masih for the “non-payment of a loan of Pakistani Rupees 40,000.00” over $470. He apparently forced him to work in his farms and plantation fields… [Go To Full Story]