Pakistani Christian Mumtaz Masih Freed From Bonded Labor

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Mumtaz Masih had borrowed 200,000 Pakistani rupees from a local Muslim in 2013. in return for borrowing that money he was asked to work at the lenders farms in return for 7500 Pakistani rupees per month. Mumtaz could only go home once a month and was required to stay at the farm all the time.

Out of the decided 7500 rupees paid to him, 5500 was deducted as a re-payment of the loan and 2000 was given to him. However, in 2014 Mumtaz’s employer refused to pay him and would not longer let him go home to see his family. He was now unpaid bonded laborer.

After many months, Alishba Bibi, wife of Mumtaz had not seen her husband. She decided to seek legal assistance and approached the Organization of Legal Assistance and on 28th May 2015 and filed a habeas corpus petition for the freedom of Mumtaz Masih from illegal detention. A habeas corpus is a legal procedure to seek the release of an individual who has been unlawfully detained.

The court sent Muhammad Irshad to the farm where Mumtaz Masih worked and after a raid was conducted, Mumtaz was found locked in a room. He said he had been held in the room for 3 days.

Mumtaz Masih was presented before the court and got released from bonded labor. The family however is still afraid of the employers strong influence.

Although this might not seem a clear case of religious bias, it is often considered that Christians are the weaker elements of the society and can be treated however someone wishes to treat them. Women like Alishba Bibi set examples in the society that even Christian women can stand up for their rights.

Such abuse is not restricted to Christians only and it is the dilemma Pakistani society is facing.