A Christian brick-kiln laborer was brutally beaten after he demanded his full wages on Sunday 20th June 2016.
19 year old Nadeem Masih had been working for in excess of 12 months at a brick kiln, located at Chuniyaan District in the city of Kasur. During his
pre-contract discussion with the kiln manager Nadeem Masih had agreed a figure of 962 Pak-rupees for every 1000 bricks he made, however his employer
Hajji Musa was only paying 800 Pak-rupees per 1000 bricks.
On hearing his request for full pay Mr Musa started to insult Nadeem, he shouted:
“You dirty choora [derogatory term for Christians meaning sweeper] Christian. How dare you demand anything for me. Your kind are not fit to lick the
dirt from my shoes.”
Mr Musa called the site supervisors Amjad Ali and Muhammed Latif and together the three men brutally beat Nadeem Masih. During the attack he was kicked,
punched and beaten with a stick. The beating took place in front of all the other Christian slaves who were shouted at and warned not to argue with
their masters. They were told how ‘worthless they were’ and not to try and demand wages in the same manner as Nadeem.
Please sign our petition against bonded labour (click here)
Nadeem was then pinned down by the site supervisors who shaved off his hair and moustache [a symbol of masculinity in Pakistan]. But this was not the
end of the beleaguered young man’s humiliation. Mr Musa had instructed his two supervisors to force Nadeem to stand on one leg in the centre
of the brick kiln courtyard, moreover every time Nadeem’s raised leg fell to the ground he was to be beaten. Amjad Ali and Muhammed Latif
are said to have reveled in their duties and beat Nadeem severely every time the leg fell during a gruelling punishment that lasted the full course
of 5 hours. At the time of the attack the temperature in the courtyard was said to be close to 50 degrees centigrade, forcing Nadeem to collapsed with
fatigue at the end of his ordeal.
Image of Nadeem with shaved head and eyebrows.
Nadeem tried to lodge a complaint with the local police who immediately dismissed his claim informing him that Christian slaves had no right to seek
justice, against their Muslim masters. They cuffed Nadeem took him back to his tormentors where he was beaten again and threatened with entanglemen
in a fabricated allegation of sexual assault or his murder if he dared approach police again.
Even then, Nadeem Masih and his family members protested in front of the City Police Station in Chuniyaan and demanded justice. This action caught
the attention of our officers after a local notified our team.
BPCA’s Naveed Masih, met with Nadeem and offered help. Brick kiln workers do not realize the danger they are in when they sign their contract
of slavery with their masters. They take on a small loan and agree to pay back the loan through their labour, receiving a small payment for their
survival. However the contract inevitably allows irrevocable rights to the employer to alter wages at their whim, increase their hours of duty
and to beat their slaves at will with the signed consent of the victim. Despite laws since 1992 that outlaw bonded Labour the practice has grown
and proliferated. It is estimated that 90% of all bonded Labourers are Christian. Close to a figure of 1,000,000 slaves are employed in the brick
kilns and a further 700,000 face the same fate in carpet factories and other brutally archaic industries.
Nadeem Masih, spoke to us about his situation:
“This attack has left me terrified I believe I will be killed. But I am not willing to accept this brutality or to allow my employer to get away with cheating me. His men beat me and cursed me they insulted the Lord Jesus and I am determined to seek justice for their brutality. I know God will have his own divine retribution for the disgusting things they said about Him.”
Naveed Masih, said:
“This attack is another example of the pariah status of Christians. Many Christians live whole lives of debauchery and brutality at the hands of Muslim’s masters in Pakistan. Nadeem Masih has been brave and has spoken out, many in his position would have suffered in silence overwhelmed by sadness. I ask for prayer that we can get justice for this brave man who deserves our total support.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
“Only a Christian in Pakistan can suffer such brutality at the hands of his masters and rejection from the police. In my opinion justice will be thwarted and the policemen who took a bribe to return the slave to their master, will never be prosecuted or disciplined. There is a casual acceptance of corruption in Pakistan that has developed inexorable impunity for perpetrators of crimes against Christians. They are anathema in a population that is taught to hate them from every child’s first day at school. If nothing is done to stem this tide of hatred I predict only ‘rivers of blood’.”
The laws that outlaw bonded Labour are:
- Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1992
- Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Rules, 1995
BPCA were the first humanitarian group to meet with the family and have offered a safe house and legal assistance. The cost of the safe house is in the region of £200 per month and the advocates fees start at £400. This family were in desperate need of immediate assistance. due to the severe nature of the threats being directed towards his family. There is also need for food and other costs for sustenance at around £100 until we can get the family back to a state of stability. If you would like to donate to this vital work please (click here)