Brick kiln owner kidnaps Christian labourer demands heavy ransom for release

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A brick kiln owner has kidnapped a Christian man, demanding huge amount of ransom for his release. 35-year-old, Salim Masih who was formerly working at abductor’s brick kiln has been purportedly kidnapped by Sheikh Mustfa- the owner of the brick kiln.

Bonded labour in Pakistan

British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA) details that over a year ago, Salim Masih took a loan of 10,000 Rupees from his employer Shiekh Mustafa. Salim Masih had agreed to work at the brick kiln of Sheikh Mustafa. In keeping with this agreement, Salim and his wife were supposed to work at Shiekh Mustafa’s brick kilns at Phatak Gunje Khudiya, District Kasur. It was settled between Salim and Shiekh Mustafa that after working for a year, Christian family’s load would be settled.

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After the Christian couple had served Sheikh Mustafa for a year, they left the brick kiln at night time because they were aware that their master would not allow them to leave. After leaving Sheikh Mustafa’s brick kiln they headed to another brick kiln where they were previously working as hired labourers.

After three months, their former master Sheikh Mustafa was able to trace their whereabouts. On April 21, Sheikh Mustafa sent two men to Salim’s house. The two men tortured and abused Salim Masih, in front of his wife and children. Afterwards they took him with them, threatening his wife to arrange for 40,000 Rupees for release of Salim.

Salim’s wife reported the incident to the police, however police showed reluctance to register a case against the perpetrators. Dejected and desperate woman contacted British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA) and was succored.

BPCA reports her saying: “I have cried and prayed every day since Salim was taken from me. I have no idea if he is still alive and my children ask me time after time. My children and I had to watch Salim being beaten and we are still traumatized. The pain will not go away till Salim is returned to us.

We paid off Sheikh Mustafa’s debt through hard work over a year. We waited till our loan had been completed before leaving as we did not want any anger. We only wanted a better future but the cruel man has destroyed our hope.”