Anger and fear spread among the local Christians of Fatomund village, Gujranwala, Punjab when local police handed over the dead body of Liaqat Masih, 47, to his family.

He had been working as driver with one of local Muslim politician’s son for the last 15 years but after a burglary at his employer’s home last November, Raza Hameed registered a report at the local police station against unknown people.

The burglars took some very expensive gold jewellery from Raza Hammed’s house.

He is very rich and influential and according to some reports he pressurised the police to arrest Liaqat Masih.

It is a common trend in Pakistan that in such m cases Muslim employers often blame their Christian maids and other Christian servants without any proof. CLAAS has dealt with several such cases and found all the people were innocent. In some cases cash and jewellery were stolen by their own family members, while in others young Christian girls were harassed so they could not stand up against them.

Because the police are corrupt and open to bribery, they side with the employers and even torture victims to death in the process of obtaining false confessions, as employers want to cover for their family members.

The relatives and other Christians of the area witnessed torture marks on Liaquat Masih’s body. They gathered in front of Gujranwala Cantonment Police Station and demanded to lodge FIR against the murder of Liaquat Masih. Police have declared he died of a heart attack.

The Gujranwala Cantonment Police baton charged at the peaceful Christian protestors and arrested several Christians for disturbing the peace.

Police also arrested Liaquat Masih’s son, Khurram Masih, 20. He was also tortured in front of Liaquat Masih to force him to confess theft but the murdered Christian father protested his his innocence.

Nasir Saeed Director CLAAS-UK said he has personally met with several young girls in prison and heard their stories.

“In some cases when employees ask for a pay rise of change job their without giving enough notice, they can be falsely accused of stealing cash and jewellery, sometimes to teach them a lesson and sometimesto keep them back in the same employment and at the same wages.

“This is a long standing problem and CLAAS and other NGOs have raised this issue with the government for change in legislation but there has been no reply.”