A disabled Christian farm worker who was kidnapped by Muslim landowners in Pakistan has been killed, after being subjected to extreme violence over an unpaid loan.
The British Asian Christian Association (BACA) reports that Ahsan Masih was forcibly imprisoned under threat of violence in the Faisalabad region and subjected to severe torture, including electric shocks, whipping, beating, and mutilation.
Ahsan agreed to act as a surety for a friend’s loan of Rs. 400,000 (£1034) from a local Muslim landowner. The friend Shahbaz consented to labor on the landowner’s farm until the loan was paid. However, Ahsan assisted him in his labor on the farm but became responsible for the loan after Shahbaz became ill.
On August 30, a gang kidnapped Ahsan from another local farm where he was working alongside his brother Nadem 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.”
Masih was later notified by the land owner Muhammad Aslam that his brother was under his custody and would be released upon the settlement of Shahbaz’s debt.
Salarwala police found Ahsan dead on Aslam’s farm 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 the 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, Premier reported. The anti-persecution charity cites misused blasphemy laws, violence, kidnappings, forced marriages and forced conversion to Islam among 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.