09/08/2010, 00.00
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Christian woman, mother of two, abducted and forced into slavery because of debt

by Jibran Khan
Her labourer husband took out a loan to have his sick father undergo medical treatment. Muslim landlord who owns the debt now wants repayment; to achieve his goal, he threatened and insulted the family, calling them “lowlife” who “will always be our slave” because “We Muslims are superior to any other religion.” Initially, police refused to intervene and file a complaint about the abduction.

Kasur (AsiaNews) – A group of Muslims abducted a Christian woman, mother of two, because her husband failed to repay a loan he had contracted because of his poverty. The Muslim creditor threatened to seize his wife and children and use them as slaves if the debt was not paid in time. Two days ago, he, his children and other family members organised a sit-in (pictured) demanding that police intervene, but so far, it has failed to lift one finger to free the woman. The incident occurred in Fatehpuh Kasur (Kasur District), about 100 kilometres from Punjab’s capital Lahore.

The town is home to Ejaz Masih, his wife Sana, their two children and his parents. He works as labourer in the fields, whilst his wife works as a maid. Both are working hard to give their children an education.

Last July, Muhammad Nawaz Randhawa sold his fields to Chaudhry Ilyas Tiwana, who inherited all the labourers as well.

Earlier, Ejaz Masih had asked Randhawa for a loan to pay for his father’s medical treatment. After Randhawa told Tiwana about the loan, the latter summer Ejaz on 15 August to tell him that he had two weeks to repay it, “otherwise you will work my fields for the rest of your life, together with your family”. What is more, “We’ll come and take your wife and children to work for us as slaves. You have no choice [but pay]. Do dare not tell anyone; or else, you’ll be responsible for the consequences,” he added. “You are lowlife and will always be our slave. We Muslims are superior to any other religion.”

After he was thrown out of the landlord’s home, Ejaz went home where he told his wife and parents about the incident. “My wife said we should contact police and the authorities because we could not let anyone take our children to be their slaves,” Ejaz told AsiaNews.

“I told her that those people were very influential and that they would kill us if we contacted police. My parents told me to send my children to the house of an uncle, for protection, which we did.”

“Last Friday,” Ejaz went on to say, “around 5 am, seven to eight people with weapons came to take away my wife. They threatened us with their weapons. I tried to stop them, but they threw me to the ground and beat my father.”

When his mother called for help, neighbours came out but no one tried to stop the kidnappers. His brother, Javed, contacted police, but they refused to register the complaint.

On Monday, Ejaz, his parents, children and brother protested in front of the Fatehpuh Kasur Press Club, demanding justice and his wife’s release.

Despite many attempts and requests, Tiwana was unavailable to make any comment about the incident.

Following the protest, Senior House Officer Malik Babar said, “We are aware of the matter and we will arrest the culprits.”

However, the district coordination officer said he had no information about any such incident, but “I will instruct police to take the necessary action in this regard.”

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