By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A Lahore, Pakistan, church has told the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) that has been providing aid to "tortured and abducted brick kiln workers" in Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab.
Two of brick kiln workers
He said that when he first heard of the shocking incident, he and a team rushed to the scene, and asked people who saw the incident what had occurred, and they said that the kiln owners and others had "hit them with heavy slippers and sticks and hung them on the front side of wall of a house."
The pastor added that after the "brutal and inhuman beating," the victims "became disabled and can no more work to earn a livelihood for their families."
Pastor Javaid Austin (in blue) with some of
brick kiln workers
The pastor then said that, despite the fact that they were ones who were beaten, the kiln owners then registered what he called a "fake" First Information Report (FIR) # 737/2013 at Raiwind City Police station, Lahore, against Tariq Masih and Sharif Jalal.
The pastor went on to say, "All these people are innocent and they have not committed any crime, but in spite of all this, they were tortured by the kiln owners. Iqbal Masih's wife was pregnant and was brutally beaten by owners and, due to this act, her child has died."
Pastor Austin says that his church "is working in order to raise the voice of voiceless people, especially for the down-trodden kiln workers for their economic, educational and social uplift."
He then said that when he first heard of heard about this "cruel act and inhuman treatment," he and his son Azeem Javaid, and other team members, including Pastor Ashik, Mubashir Younis, Yousaf Daniel, Javaid Saleem and Shumshar Ashgar, "rushed to the place to try and "take the necessary action to save them from the cruel kiln owners."
"When the Police were called by me and my team, they did not take any action against the kiln owners, but rather they protected owners. No one was ready to speak against kiln owners for the fear of their lives," he added.
The pastor said that they encouraged those who had been injured saying that they would do "all they could" to support them, and two of the men were taken to his home for "medical treatment, shelter, safety and protection."
Pastor Austin leading a protest against the treatment of the brick kiln workers
Pastor Austin has since submitted, on behalf of his church, a writ petition to the court of the Session Judge of Lahore, on behalf of those who were attacked.
"Since this incident occurred, we have receiving death threats on us and our families, in a bid to stop us continuing the case," he said. "We are continually attending the hearings of courts and we have requested to high officials of the Government that justice be done and have asked that due legal protection should, as early as possible, be given to the tortured workers as well as our families, and our Christian organization, as early as possible."
If you would like to contact Pastor Javaid Austin, his e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
To watch a video about the incident, please go to https://vimeo.com/80067681