Muslim employer tortures Christian worker to death

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A Muslim factory owner in Pakistan on Thursday (June 6) tortured to death an 18-year-old

Rubina Salamat and Salamat Masih lost their son Waqas Salamat on June 6, 2024. (Christian Daily International-Morning Star News)

Christian worker for leaving the job against his wishes, family members said.

Waqas Salamat had started working at the plastic bottle manufacturing factory owned by Haji Muhammad Saleem in Lahore’s Islampura area two months ago. Salamat died when Saleem, his son Umar Saleem and three Muslim workers forcibly took him to the factory and tortured him for hours with electric shocks, the victim’s mother said.

After Waqas Salamat had stopped going to the factory on June 1 because he believed he could find better work, Saleem on June 4 summoned his parents to the factory and pressured them to make him return, said his mother, Rubina Salamat.

“When we told him that he didn’t want to come back, Saleem suddenly accused Waqas of committing a theft worth millions of rupees,” she told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “We told Saleem that our son was not a thief, but Saleem refused to listen. We even asked him to show us any evidence that incriminated Waqas, but nothing was produced before us.”

When Saleem threatened to have Waqas Salamat arrested on a fake theft charge, Rubina Salamat told him that, although her son was innocent, they were willing to compensate Saleem the alleged damages in installments, she said.

She offered to pay the installments by deducting 7,000 rupees (US$25) per month from the salary of another son who worked at the factory, 13-year-old Awais Salamat, in exchange for Saleem releasing Waqas Salamat, she said.

Saleem rejected the offer and insisted that Waqas Salamat must resume work at the factory, and the parents agreed to talk with him.

On Thursday (June 6), Waqas Salamat went to meet a potential employer near Saleem’s factory, and Umar Saleem spotted him.

“He informed his father, and they sent some workers to bring Waqas to the factory,” where they bound his hands and feet, Rubina Salamat said.

“Factory workers Shahzad, Bilal and Shani and the two owners started beating my son mercilessly with plastic pipes and other objects,” she told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “My son Awais was also present in the factory and witnessed the entire episode, but there was nothing he could do to save his elder brother.”

The assailants also gave Waqas Salamat electric shocks, she said.

“The torture was so excruciating that my son collapsed. Seeing the situation, Saleem told my son Awais to clean Waqas’s body with water and then run home and bring us to the factory,” Rubina Salamat said. “As soon as Awais informed me, I ran towards the factory, but my son had succumbed to the torture by that time. There was nothing I could do to save his life.”

The factory owners and workers fled before police arrived, she said. Islampura police registered a First Information Report against Saleem, his son, and the three workers and sent Waqas Salamat’s body for autopsy.

“Our financial condition is such that we didn’t even have enough money to arrange for his burial,” Rubina Salamat said, sobbing. “I literally begged my relatives to loan me money so that I could put my son’s body to rest.”

Her oldest son Kashif Salamat, a sweeper for the Lahore Waste Management Company, said police arrested one worker while the remaining four, including the owner and his son, obtained pre-arrest bail.

“The factory is locked, and the owner Saleem and his son are absconding,” Kashif Salamat told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “We are extremely poor people and do not have the means to pursue the legal case against them.”

Muslim employers commonly exploit impoverished Christian workers, believing they do not have the resources or status in the 96-percent Muslim country to obtain justice. Kashif Salamat and his mother appealed to Christians for help.

“Waqas was my beloved son and my biggest support,” Rubina Salamat said. “He would often tell me that he’ll work very hard to make life easier for us, but I never imagined that he would be taken from me like this. I’m very poor, and with Waqas gone, my family’s financial situation has further deteriorated. I humbly ask my Christian brothers and sisters to support us in getting justice for my innocent son.”

Her husband, Salamat Masih, has long been ill and unable to work, while she works as a maid in two houses, earning 7,000 rupees (US$25) per month, she said. The couple has five children, three of whom are married and live separately.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, as it was the previous year. — Morning Star News

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Photo: Rubina Salamat and Salamat Masih lost their son Waqas Salamat on June 6, 2024. (Christian Daily International-Morning Star News)