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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 02/24/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    NCJP frees Christian man held in slave-like conditions by rich Muslim

    Shafique Khokhar

    NCJP activists successfully obtain the release of Qamar Masih, 25, father of two, who was abducted over an unpaid debt by a landowner for whom he used to work in "slave-like conditions". A priest in Faisalabad is happy about the outcome, blames such incidents on the country's "feudal system".

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A rich Muslim landowner abducted a Christian man in Faisalabad for failure to repay a debt he had contracted and not repaid whilst working for him. Sources close to the Christian man's family said the latter left the job tired of being exploited and abused for a pittance. Only the intervention of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church of Pakistan led to the man's release and a peaceful resolution of the issue. However, the case highlights the fact that Pakistan's "feudal system" forces "poor workers into slave-like conditions".

    Today, Qamar Masih, also known as Bhola 35, a Christian father two from Malkhanwala  in Faisalabad, is back at work at a cattle feed shop owned by a Muslim where he earns 7,500 rupees (US$ 88) a month, a salary that allows him to make a decent living for himself and his family.

    However, just this Wednesday, his former employer, Bilal Sarwar Cheema, a rich landowner connected with Punjab's land mafia, had him abducted by a group of armed men. He was kidnapped because he had not repaid a loan (20,000 rupees) the rich Muslim landowner had granted to him last year.

    In order to secure her husband's release, Qamar's 32-year-old wife, Uzma Dildar, called on Fr Khalid Rasheed Asi and the activists of the Faisalabad branch of the NCJP for help. She told them that her husband had quit his job because of constant harassment and abuses from his employer who treated him like a serf.

    The NCJP went to the police, which opened an investigation. When they met the rich Muslim landowner, Bilal Sarwar Cheema confirmed the abduction. He told police that when he found out that Qamar had returned home after an absence of seven months, he decided to abduct him.

    Mediation allowed the Christian man to go free on condition he repay the loan in instalments over a certain period so that he had enough money to support his wife and daughters.

    Contacted by AsiaNews, Fr Khalid Rasheed Asi explained, "Pakistan's remotest regions are still under a feudal system". It is common practice "for rich landowners to grant loans" and "then keep workers in slave-like conditions for generations" doing "nothing but the same job".

    "I'm happy," the clergyman said, "that for once the matter was sorted out peacefully."

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    See also

    06/10/2011 PAKISTAN
    Armed group kills Christian over disputed land in Punjab
    Last night, Safdar Masih was shot to death; others, including children, were injured. The local Church had bought some land to build an orphanage, but the local land mafia laid claim to it. Police refuses to open an investigation into the affair.

    28/10/2011 PAKISTAN
    Christian farm workers abducted by Muslim landowners for money in Faisalabad
    The Masih brothers worked on land owned by the Dogar family. The latter are Muslim and some of its members used to get drunk and beat the tenants. When Asif and Khadim decided to quit, they were abducted. Nothing has been known about their fate since September. The authorities have not investigated the matter because one of the Dogars is a policeman.

    21/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    Lahore, one hundred Muslims and Christians in support of the Christian “blasphemer”
    Among supporters the Muslim president of Samanabad’s Commercial Union, who admits to having been duped by “instigators” who presented the 84 year old Walter Fazal Khan as a blasphemer. In the meantime, Charsadda Christians appeal for prayers for their frightening situation.

    10/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    84-year-old Christian accused of blasphemy to force him to sell land
    Walter Fazal Khan, an 84-year-old man from Lahore, is in jail, accused of burning pages of the Quran. His family says this is a plot orchestrated by some businessmen who did not take kindly to the man’s refusal to sell them his land at their price.

    27/02/2012 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Christians, not Muslim extremists, behind attack against the Grace Ministry Church
    Sajid Masih, one the two men wounded in the incident, confirms this version of events. Initially, blame was placed on a fundamentalist group. A property dispute is behind the attack. Faisalabad vicar warns that yellow journalism could undermine interfaith harmony.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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