Sunday, November 28, 2010 | Tag Cloud
By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- The father of a Christian executive kidnapped in Pakistan's Punjab province said Sunday, November 28, he fears his son will be killed on orders of senior Muslim managers.
Asher Randhawa, 31, and colleague Robin Paras were abducted October 13 by a group of some nine attackers in the provincial capital Lahore outside a court building, his father Sarwat Randhawa told Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife.
He said the kidnappers were hired by management of the Daewoo City Bus Service Lahore because his son refused to carry out "illegal jobs", such as assassinating the company's former country manager. "I am afraid that Daewoo people will kill my son. I don't know where he is." (Pictured demonstrators demanding more rights for Christian workers and the Christian minority)
Randhawa alleged that the Daewoo management "is in the hands of Muslims" and that they pressured his child to carry out "illegal jobs because he is a Christian." They, "know that Christians don’t have enough resources to stop them from such type of illegal orders," he added.
The transport company denied the charges. It also stressed it had dismissed Randhawa and his colleague for financial wrongdoing.
Randhawa said however the firm has a policy that "whenever a worker doesn’t accept their illegal orders, they fire him after torture and register a [false] case against him" with police. "They have fired many workers like this, draw a lot of money from company accounts and use that money for bogus cases" against those dismissed. "No one is checking their corruption of millions of rupees," he said.
Before the kidnapping, his son and Paras were allegedly "tortured" by several officials and workers in a conference room. "They snatched their mobile phones and money also."
He added that company personnel even shot his son "when he came out from the Daewoo office the same day" on July 6 this year. "The right leg of my son Asher was severely injured and he was taken to the nearby hospital."
Randhawa explained that police refused to seriously investigate the incident because they allegedly received a bribe from the company's Muslim-dominated board of directors.
Instead, Randhawa said, police threatened them and accused his son of taking bribes.
Yet, Asher Randhawa was apparently not able to defend himself against the charges. "On October 13 when my son along with his colleague Robin Paras went to the session court for a hearing [they] kidnapped them in a car before their appearance in the session court."
Police officials have not commented on the case.
Randhawa said he would continue his legal battle, but expressed concerns about his abducted son's wife. "He recently married in January." It is also difficult for other family members, he stressed. "My wife is in shock. She is already a heart patient and even last Sunday had a heart attack," he said. "I have five sons and two daughters, and Asher is the oldest son."
The kidnapping comes at a time when Christian workers, many of whom live in poverty, have come under increased Islamic pressure in several areas of Pakistan, according to human rights groups.
Randhawa has complained that the authorities refuse to intervene and asked several Western embassies to help him.
Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, has said however he wants to improve the rights of the country's Christian minority.
Bhatti, a Christian, also campaigns against controversial blasphemy laws, which he claims are misused to jail Christians and settle personal disputes. It was not immediately clear Saturday, November 27, what Bhatti planned to do to end the ongoing kidnapping of Randhawa.
The minister is under pressure from hard-line Islamic groups who have reportedly threatened to behead Bhatti.
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