Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 25 May 2006
EXPOSED - Sale of Pakistani Christian children as slaves is funding Islamic Militants
Gul Khan, a leading member of a militant Islamic organisation based in Pakistan, is funding its activities through the sale of Christian children into slavery.
The children, aged between 6 and 12, are abducted from their homes in remote Christian villages in the Punjab and incarcerated in appalling conditions, until being sold for approximately $1,700 each into the sex trade or a life of domestic servitude. While they are held they are beaten savagely, only fed once a day and ordered not to talk, play or pray.
The trade was exposed by two Christian missionaries (one Pakistani, the other American), who had seen photographs of boys for sale on the black market in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. The missionaries constructed an elaborate and hazardous rescue plan, with the Pakistani posing as a Lahore businessman who wanted to buy boys to beg for him. Not only did they manage to buy back twenty boys and return them to their homes, but also they secretly filmed Khan accepting money for seventeen boys.
Khan is a senior member of Jamaat-ud Daawa (JUD), an organisation linked to Al-Qaeda. The US State Department has declared JUD to be a front for a terrorist group Lashkar-i-Toiba which is banned in both Pakistan and the UK. Yet JUD is popular in Pakistan for providing free medical care and education for the poor. After last year's earthquake in Kashmir it was quick to give tents, blankets and food. At its base near Lahore JUD claims to have created a "pure Islamic environment" that is superior to western "depravity". The base was funded by Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s.
JUD and Al-Qaeda jointly attempted to assassinate the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, in 2003. JUD's leader, Hafez Muhamed Sayeed, was accused of inciting riots in Pakistan earlier this year in response to the publication of the Danish cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammed.
Although the evidence against Khan is overwhelming the police have indicated that the power of groups such as JUD is too great for them to tackle. So far no investigation has taken place.
The context of such horrors
"The revelation of this horrifying trade in Christian boys to fund Islamic terrorism is an extreme manifestation of the discrimination and oppression of Christians in Pakistan," said Dr Patrick Sookhdeo the International Director of Barnabas Aid. "The classical teachings of Islam on the second class status of non-Muslims (called dhimmi) create an attitude of contempt towards Pakistan's Christian minority which is seen in a whole raft of daily discrimination, injustice and humiliation. The situation is exacerbated by issues of caste and poverty. It is in this context that such horrors can take place. I am encouraged that the police did make some efforts in this case, but, as so often happens, they appear now to be intimidated themselves by the weight of the whole Islamist movement in Pakistan. I pray that the exposure of this slave trade to the international community will help bring an end to it."
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the author of a historical study entitled:
"A People Betrayed: The Impact of Islamization on the Christian Community in Pakistan".
For details of how to purchase this book, please contact email@example.com or telephone +44 1672 565037. (From within the UK telephone 01672 565037.)
1. Pray that the slavers will be stopped and brought to justice and in the words of one of the missionaries "Pray that a public outcry will arise in Pakistan and around the world that will put an end to their vile business."
2. Pray for the twenty Christian boys who have been reunited with their families after such severe suffering and trauma. Pray for emotional and, where necessary, physical healing for them.
3. Pray for other Christian boys who may have been sold already and for whom freedom might never again be a reality. Pray that the Lord Jesus will comfort them by His presence and that somehow justice would be done and they would be given their liberty.
4. Pray for the Pakistani police and judiciary and for President Musharraf that they will be able to control and contain the Islamic extremists and enforce full law and order to Pakistan.