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Pakistan: A Country Torn Between Democracy & Sharia Law

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(Voice of the Persecuted) As it seems the world leaders have united in the fight against ideologies that breed terror and persecution, while the long list of countries go virtually unchecked for their Human Rights abuses and the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.  Pakistan is on this list, though it has not gone un-noticed by all in the world.  Watchdog groups are again reporting on the practices of singling out the poor, the uneducated, the religious minorities, women and children.

As we modernize everything including our customs, times and laws, Pakistan’s draconian laws such as the ‘Blasphemy’ law, and the bonded labor program beg for attention from the ‘modern’ world at large.  The West claims, we are global citizens that pride ourselves in modernity, freedom, and peace.  But the last year alone, is far from anything resembling global freedom from oppression and peace.

Christian Publications are reporting on the December attack on 13 Christian families in Pakistan whose homes were destroyed by a local government in Punjab Province.  These families were attacked because they refused to work in Pakistan’s bonded labor program in the Brick Kilns.

Last year, many in the world became aware of the Brick Kilns when a mob attacked bonded Christian workers, the wife falsely accused of blasphemy and burned them alive in the very Kiln they attended.

Attack victims,Shazad Masih and his wife Shama Shazad Masih were brutally murdered at a brick kiln

Attack victims,Shazad Masih and his wife Shama Shazad Masih were brutally murdered at a brick kiln

The man and his pregnant wife was severely beaten, their legs broken so they could not run, stripped naked and thrown into the fire of a kiln oven.  The crazed mob then  stood and watched them die. The couple was part of the bonded labor program.  The world was shocked, and cried out for justice, but justice has not come leaving many at risk of the same violence.

Brick-kilns, which are located on the outskirts of most major cities and towns in Pakistan, operate almost exclusively on the basis of debt-bondage.

Photos of Brick Kiln where attack took place below

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In December, after the November attacks of the Christian couple, a local government authority destroyed the homes of 13 Christian families because they refused to participate in this barbaric and draconian practice.

The ‘bonded labor program is said to be illegal in Pakistan, but it is ignored and thriving.  Many are used for human trafficking such as prostitution, forced marriage, servitude and hard labor in agriculture or the brick kilns.  A large number of the women and girls are continually raped by their employers, who see them as property to do to with them as they please. A stark contrast to Western ideals.

In Pakistani employers thriving on bonded labor, believe they own their workers, buying, selling, even trading them.  They seek out the poorest, many uneducated and offered their children a bright future.  A future that will provide them with wealth and prosperity if they will only sign their children over to them.  And a brutal life of servitude and abuse begins. Underpaid and unable to support themselves, their debt to employers accumulates. These debts never get paid off due to the large interest or being falsely accused by the employer of owing more than agreed. Families are enslaved with responsiblity to cover their parents debt when they die. The vicious cycle repeating from generation to generation.

As you see in the video above, they propose a safe and prosperous alternative for widows.  And monumentally, no one seems to care because they are poor, uneducated and homeless.  At least that’s how it’s justified in this ‘civilized’ world.

What we know about Pakistan’s bonded labor program:

  • Also called Debt bondage (debt slavery or bonded labor) is a person’s pledge of their labor or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation. 
  • Debt bondage has been described by the United Nations as a form of “modern day slavery”
  • Debt bondage was “quite normal” in classical antiquity. 
  • Debt bondage can be passed from generation to generation. which is common in Pakistan
  • As early as 1926 the United Nations recognized this in various articles and banned debt or bonded slavery, as well as serfdom, child marriage, servile marriage, and child servitude.  In 1956 articles were put in place to make these practices illegal and there were 35 signatories and 123 Parties.  India and Pakistan both agreed to these articles, but sadly the practice of slavery freely continues in both countries.  The Articles are as follows:
  1. The parties commit to abolish and abandon debt bondage, serfdom, servile marriage and child servitude.
  2. The parties commit to enacting minimum ages of marriage, encouraging registration of marriages, and encouraging the public declaration of consent to marriage.
  3. Criminalisation of slave trafficking.
  4. Runaway slaves who take refuge on flag vessels of parties shall thereby ipso facto attain their freedom.
  5. Criminalisation of the marking (including mutilation and branding) of slaves and servile persons.
  6. Criminalisation of enslavement and giving others into slavery.
  7. Definitions of ‘slave’, “a person of servile status” and “slave trade”

     9. No reservations may be made to this Convention.

    12.  This Convention shall apply to all non-self-governing-trust, colonial and other non-metropolitan       territories to the international relations of which any State Party is responsible.

The World spoke and made provisions for a barbaric practice to be abolished, yet still practiced throughout the world, including the Middle East under the guise of a religious law, as we see the IS claiming in Iraq, today. Many are unaware slavery is ongoing and a robust industry, such as in nations like Saudi Arabia.

The US began providing assistance to Pakistan in 1947 and it continues to this day.  It has grown to at least 1.6 Billion a year.  Only coming into question in the years after 9/11 when Osama Bin Laden was thought to be hiding in the country  As Fox news reported, some in our government consider them invaluable in counter-terrorism,  and see them as only taking US money while helping our enemies. Do they turn their eyes away from these human rights abuses?  It is said that money to Pakistan helps open schools and agriculture grow.  But if this is the case, we must ask, why are theses laborers, human beings treated in this manner?

Asia Bibi has sat in a cell for 5 years charged with blasphemy.  Her crime was being thirsty and taking a drink of water from a Muslim well, defiling it because she was a Christian. Asia maintains she was falsely accused and innocent of the blasphemy charge. Asia’s persecution case has been highlighted to the international community, with many condemning the sentence and calling for her release.

The Blasphemy Law in Pakistan is just as brutal and barbaric as the Bonded labor.  There have been many killed, imprisoned, or fleeing the country to avoid persecution via this law.

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law:

  • The Pakistani penal code actually prohibits blasphemy against any religion.  However it’s used against Christians and other minorities.  Since 1987 approximately 1300 people have been charged with this law, the majority for desecrating the Koran.
  • Over 50 people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their respective trials were over and prominent figures who opposed blasphemy laws (Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minorities and Salman Taseer, the former governor of Punjab) have been assassinated.  Taseer’s killer said, the former governor deserved his fate, because he had the audacity to show sympathy for Asia Bibi. Not only had Taseer called for Bibi’s pardon, he criticised as a “black law” the criminal code that saw her convicted in the first place. Since 1990, 62 people have been murdered as a result of blasphemy allegations.
  • Asia Bibi has been sentenced to death and is awaiting an appeal.  If she is not granted a successful appeal she will be the first woman to be hanged in Pakistan. The courts have repeatedly postponed the appeal hearing.
  • In early 2013,  After hearing accusations that a Christian man committed blasphemy against Islam’s prophet, over 3,000 Muslim protesters turned violent after Friday prayers destroying an entire Christian neighborhood that was burned to the ground.
  • Pakistan’s laws became particularly severe between 1980 and 1986, when a number of clauses were added to the laws by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq, to “Islamicise” the laws and deny the Muslim character of the Ahmadi minority.  Prior to 1986, only 14 cases pertaining to blasphemy were reported.
  • Pakistans Blasphemy laws are the strictest of the Islamic Nations.
  • In addition to derogatory remarks about the Prophet,  uttering of any word, making any sound or gesture, placing of any object in the sight with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, is also considered blasphemy.

Pakistan’s own constitution actually calls for religious freedom.  Ironic, isn’t it?  As with other jihadist groups, Pakistan’s Taliban has united with ISIS.  ISIS is garnering more and more support.  Recently, the world reeled at the news of a school massacre when the Taliban attacked the institution where those in the Pakistani military sent their children. Many little ones were killed. The Government has responded to this attack and executed about 100 of those responsible.

Protest in support of terrorists attack in Paris

Protests in the streets are taking place in support of the terrorists who carried out the massacre in Paris.   The student wing of the  Jaamat-e-Islami party is responsible for the protests after Friday prayers in Karachi.  The police had to use tear gas, to hold them back from storming the French Consolate. Three were wounded.

It’s also worthy of noting that Pakistan is one of the world ‘s countries that have nuclear weapons.  If the Pakistan Government should ever fail, the implications of the Taliban or ISIS taking over is bone chilling.

Pray with Us for these precious soul’s in Pakistan, and let them know they are not forgotten.

1.  Pray that God will bring justice to His elect, His chosen ones in Pakistan.  That is those who are caught up in this economic slavery of bonded labor…….Luke 18:7-8, Psalm 140:12
2.  Pray that God will deliver the poor believers in Pakistan from their economic poverty.  That churches and ministries would provide a way for those in economic poverty to start self sustaining businesses…….Psalm 72:13-14, Galatians 6:10
3.  Pray for a repeal if the blasphemy laws, for Pakistain to honor freedom of religion, for justice to be done regarding the persecutors of Christians, and the stability of the government in Pakistan……1 Timothy 2:1-4
4.  Pray for the release of Asia Bibi and other believers in prison in Pakistan…….Hebrews 13:3.
5.  Pray for the gospel to go forth in Pakistan…….Mark 16:15.
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Voice of the Persecuted  Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit and link back to Voice of the Persecuted
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