Our May newsletter issue told the story of Shama and Shahzad, a young Pakistani couple killed by a Muslim mob at the brick kiln where they worked. After the couple’s brutal murder in November 2014, instigated by the owner of the brick kiln, the six other Christian families working at the kiln fled for their lives. VOM has been helping them find work and get reestablished.
Recently, VOM workers visited the six families again in Clarkabad, a Christian village, where they are now living. The workers had previously met with the families at Christmastime, bringing them food, blankets and clothing. When the team asked how they could help the families in the longer-term, the families told them that instead of financial support, they wanted a way to support themselves. VOM workers and the families agreed that motorcycle rickshaws would provide a way for the families to earn a living by offering taxi services.
On this latest visit, VOM workers brought each family their motorcycle rickshaw. The families are happy and encouraged by this because they will now be able to earn a living.
VOM provided a motorbike rickshaw for several Pakistani Christian families.
As for the family members of Shahzad and Shama, the Pakistani government is providing for their three young children, ages 6, 4 and 1. VOM workers will continue to check in on them and provide encouragement when needed. They will also remain in close communication with the other six families.
The government has locked up 76 people in connection with the deaths of the couple. All were denied bail, including the brick kiln owner and the clerk who started the rumor that led the couple to be beaten, tied to a tractor and dragged for 30 minutes before being burned alive in the brick kiln ovens.
Immediately afterward, many strongly condemned the attack. Many Pakistanis, including some Muslim government officials, are calling for change to the country’s blasphemy laws. The laws are frequently abused to persecute Christians, a minority in the country, or to settle personal disputes.
Source: VOM Sources