On 21 November, seven brick kiln workers were travelling home when they were stopped by three officials for a routine inspection. However, the men say they were treated with suspicion when they gave their Christian names, and were accused of stealing the money they were carrying – about $200 between them, their weekly wage – and of dealing drugs. They say they were beaten and arrested, despite not being officially charged.
“We pleaded with them for mercy, explaining we were just poor bricklayers returning to our homes… We explained that our employer could explain where we obtained our money, but they still beat us with their batons extremely severely,” one of men who was beaten, 47-year-old Allah Rakha, told the Pakistan Christian Post.
“Even when we cried and lay on the floor they continued to beat us, filled with hatred that we were Christians with some money. When we were put in a cell despite our severe wounds they provided no medical aid and we sat in pain, bleeding and catching infections. I led everyone in prayer, believing God would release us just as He did with Paul. God answered our prayers after a couple of hours and police staff allowed us to call our community leaders, who were able to act as guarantors for us, enabling our release and return home.”
The men have not yet been given their money back, and have as yet been unable to return to work. The local Christian community staged a protest outside the police station and a lawyer working on behalf of the men has submitted a complaint.
Persecution against Christians is a rising problem in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and the misuse of the country’s blasphemy laws in particular has been condemned by human rights groups. Last year, a Christian couple were beaten and burned to death in a brick kiln following rumours that they had burned pages from the Koran. They were later proved innocent and Pakistan has now charged 106 people with their murder.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Christian Today
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of these men, who willingly trusted Him through their ordeal.
- Pray for complete healing for these men; pray they will receive justice and that their complaint will be taken seriously.
- Pray the suffering of these men and many others who have been victims of persecution will not be in vain; pray the Lord will being change to this nation.