Christian Victim of Bonded Labor in Pakistan Threatened into Silence
06/24/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – In May 2020, Daniel Masih submitted an application to the court in Sargodha, Pakistan, urging authorities to rescue his brother Bashir and his family from bonded labor under Ali Babar Waraich, a Muslim landlord.
Dr. Riaz Aasi, Chairman of the Alpha Human Rights Care Association, told International Christian Concern (ICC) that Bashir Masih borrowed 400,000 rupees ($2,397.00 USD) from Ali Babar Waraich in 2015. Both Bashir and Waraich agreed to settle the loan with Bashir providing labor services for Waraich. However, after five years of labor, Waraich has refused to release the Christian family from this bonded labor.
“During Waraich’s custody, Bashir and his wife were beaten and abused for their Christian faith,” Daniel Masih told ICC. “However, Bashir never hesitant to proclaim and practice his faith.”
“As a result of continuous years of abuse, Bashir’s legs have twisted, and he can’t walk without support,” Dr. Aasi claimed. “Bashir has never been provided with medical aid for his legs.”
Police responded to Daniel’s court application and raided Waraich’s farmhouse. However, they could not find Bashir and his family, suggesting that someone already informed the Waraich about the court case against him.
Later, Bashir appeared before the court to testify about the bonded labor and abuse. However, he could not give a full account due to threats against his family. Therefore, the court did not take any legal action against Waraich.
“Christian victims of bounded labor are voiceless,” Dr. Aasi explained to ICC. “They are extremely pressurized and threatened in the villages by landlords, resulting in the loss of their courage to speak against injustice. They prefer to suffer rather than raising their voices for justice. Therefore, victims in most cases keep silent to protect their families. Bashir went through the same experience.”
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