A disabled Christian farm worker who was abducted by Muslim landlords in Pakistan has died, after being subjected to extreme violence.
Ahsan Masih was forcibly detained at gunpoint in the Faisalabad region and subjected to extreme torture, including electric shocks, whippings, beatings and mutilation, according to reports from the British Asian Christian Association (BACA).
Ahsan became a guarantor for a friend’s loan of Rs. 400,000 (£1034) from a local Muslim landlord. The friend, known as Shahbaz, agreed to work on the landowner’s farm until the debt was repaid. Ahsan assisted him in his labour on the farm but became responsible for the loan after Shahbaz became ill.
On 30th August a group abducted Ahsan from another local farm he was working on with his bother Nadeem Masih.
Explaining the attack, Masih said: “They brandished their guns, threatening me to stay silent. Then, they forcibly seized Ahsan, pulling him into the car, and swiftly drove away.”
Landowner Muhammad Aslam later informed Masih that his brother was in his custody and would be released when Shahbaz’s debt was paid.
Ahsan was found dead on Aslam’s farm by Salarwala police on 1st September.
Masih filed an FIR (First Information Report) against the suspected assailants, who are currently being held in police custody on charges of Masih’s murder and kidnapping.
Juliet Chowdhry, trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said: “Ahsan’s tragic fate serves as a stark reminder that while laws may exist on paper, their effectiveness depends on their robust enforcement and the broader social and economic context.
“Such incidents not only shock the conscience but also serve as a reminder of the urgent need for authorities to take decisive action in order to ensure justice and restore the nation’s dignity.”
Pakistan is ranked number 7 on the Open Doors' list of countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution for their faith. The anti-persecution charity cites misused blasphemy laws, violence, kidnappings, forced marriages and forced conversion to Islam amongst the pressures Christians face there.
On 9th September, BACA members together with other groups will stage a protest in London to raise awareness of the increasing persecution experienced by Christians in Pakistan.
A petition, appealing to the Pakistan government to address the violence has also been launched.