Pakistani police have freed a family of Christian brick kiln workers. According to a news release from International Christian Concern (ICC), the release occurred on June 2 in Raiwind, Pakistan. Asghar Masih, Rehana Bibi and their three children were allegedly held hostage at a brick kiln by Muhammad Nawaz, the Muslim owner.
ICC said Asghar escaped and informed Pakistani officials about his family’s captivity. The police then raided the brick kiln and freed the victims after arresting Nawaz.
According to ICC, Nawaz allegedly raped Rehana and her eldest daughter repeatedly during the imprisonment. He and others also reportedly tortured and chained the victims to prevent them from escaping.
ICC said Asghar has shown the organization the injuries around his neck, ankles, and wrists from being chained for hours at a time.
Nawaz denied the allegations in a statement to ICC, but Muhammad Mujahid, a brick kiln worker and eye witness, corroborated that the Christian family was kept as a hostage for more than a year.
In Pakistan, ICC said, brick kiln owners keep workers hostages if they don’t pay their loans. However, Mujahid said that the Christian family didn’t owe any debt money to Nawaz.
ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho said in a news release, “The plight of this Christian family highlights the victimization of Christian minorities in Pakistan. Pakistani Christians are treated like third-class citizens in their own country simply because of their faith. We commend Pakistani officials for freeing victims. We urge officials to vigilantly protect rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.”
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide.
Jeremy Reynalds, Assist News Service