LAHORE PAKISTAN, On April 1, 2021, at 10-11 PM, Maham was kidnapped when she went into the fields in front of her home to go to the toilet. In poor families there are no toilets at home therefore everyone is forced to use fields or open spaces as toilets. When her father realized after some time that his daughter was not back, he came out of his home and called her at the top of his voice, but in vain. He started searching for her. Eyewitnesses informed him that a nearby resident laborer named Farooq, aged 26, had kidnapped her with the help of his friends.
With this knowledge Niaz informed the police that his underage daughter had been kidnapped and the police began searching. Through tracing the location of the culprit’s cell phone, the police were able to arrest Farooq and rescue Maham from Jarranwala city (from the district of Faisalabad) on 22 April 2021. During the investigation, Maham testified that she had been raped and had also been forced to convert to Islam.
Maaham also said that she had been threatened with murder if she did not convert to Islam.
The accused belongs to the Okara district and he has been an employee of another landlord, Sajid Dogar, for two years. His work situation is similar to that of Niaz, Maaham’s father.
Speaking to the CAPC Team, Maaham informed them that Farooq had inserted a cloth in her mouth so that she could not shout for help. Then for 20 days or so he took her to an unknown place, tortured and raped her and forced her to accept Islam. She doesn’t really even have a basic knowledge of her own religion. She has requested justice for herself and punishment for the accused.
With tears in his eyes, Niaz appealed, “my daughter has been ruined and our family has been through a great tragedy. I am the father of 5 young children, and I work hard to feed my family, but now I have threats from the culprit and his family. I am very worried about the safety of my family, especially my daughters. It is difficult to be at home for 24 hours to take care of the children. I am very poor and I can’t afford the heavy fee of the legal process, lawyer or court. I need help to save my family and my own life, and to seek justice”.
Maaham’s grandfather was also working with the same landlord. Niaz’s father was born in the same house and employed with the same employer. Niaz doesn’t have his own home or any property or land. The whole family is employed by this landlord and their housing is is provided by the employer to work 24/7.
Maham request for Justice in a video message
Reasons of Vulnerability
This type of labour is a form of slavery which goes generation to generation. Landlords give loans on different occasions to these labours, which is then also transferred from one generation to the next. As they earn so little, they can never pay off the debt and consequently are at the mercy of the landlords all of the time. Maham’s family is such a case. The landlord always pushes the employees for heavy loans and their following generations work with the same employer. Kids are also forced to work; they are not allowed to attend schooling. Maham’s family also owes Rs.450,096.00 (CAD 3,516) in loans they have taken at Christmas, birthdays and other feasts or marriages.
Sometimes such laborers are sold to other landlords. The buyer pays the loan to the seller and the family is shifted to the buyer’s vicinity to work. These are common practices among farmers and brick kiln owners.
On 4 November 2014, Christians Shahzad Masih and his pregnant wife Shama Bibi were attacked and then burned in a brick kiln in a village named Chak no. 59 situated near Kot Radha Kishan. The illiterate couple was accused of blasphemy after Shama Bibi burned amulets which she did not know may have contained Qur’anic verses. They were killed by a local mob. They were also under heavy debt, so they could not leave the area without first paying the loan.
Shama & Shazad burnt alive
Pakistani Court quits a man burning Christian couple
CAPC plans to pursue this case on a priority basis and facilitate their getting rid of the slavery as soon as possible. Without paying their debt, it is very hard to relocate them. If they remain in the same area, the threats to their lives remain.
Maham’s father requested CAPC to help him to save his own life and that of his family.
Keeping in view the severity of the situation, CAPC intends to launch an emergency appeal to save this vulnerable family as soon as possible. For this purpose, we look to our friends and other likeminded individuals and organizations to join hands and help to fulfill our Lord Jesus Christ’s desire that the captives be set free.