Three Christians poisoned by employer

By December 17, 2009

Pakistan
(MNN) — Three Pakistani Christians have allegedly been poisoned by their
employer, Compass Direct reports. Imran
Masih, 29, and Irfan Masih, 25, were found dead at the Ferozewala Pul Banquet
& Marriage Hall. Aakash Masih, 23,
is struggling to survive in the Intensive Care Unit of Civil Hospital
Gujranwala, in Punjab Province. 

"It
appears from the position they were in that they were forced to consume some
kind of poisoned drink, or a drug, and they were left there to die," said their
father, 47-year-old Yousaf Masih. "The administration
of the banquet and wedding hall did not call a hospital or take them to a
hospital — instead they called us after the death of two of our loved
ones." 

The
alleged murderers — Imtivas Warriach, owner of the Ferozewala Pul Banquet &
Marriage Hall; and hall manager Abid Virk — remain at large. Both are Muslims. The Peoples Colony police station has
registered a murder and deception case against them. According to a police officer, the two men
will be arrested soon. 

The
three brothers had worked for the wedding/banquet hall since 2005 and never
received their full wages.  As a result,
they left the job recently to look for other work. On December 11, as the hall was in the midst
of a very busy season, Warriach called to beg the three men to return to
work. Their younger brother, Javed
Masih, received the call.

"The owner and manager of the wedding
hall called me in the early morning of Dec. 11 and pleaded for my three
brothers to rejoin and start working," Javed Masih said. "They promised to
reimburse their previous outstanding wages, as well as pay them a Christmas
bonus and overtime. At this, my brothers agreed and went to work the next
morning."

Javed Masih, 21, also received the
call from Warriach announcing that his brother, Imran, lay dead on the hall
floor. Yousaf Masih explained that
Warriach and Virk had threatened his sons in the past and clearly despised them because
of their faith. 

"On demand of their daily wages, the
owner and manager had threatened them that they would continue to work without
payment or face the dire consequences," Yousaf Masih said. "After my sons
rejoined as sanitation workers, both Warriach and Virk started to make fun of
them for leaving the job previously. Both the Muslim men mocked my sons for
being Christian and called them by pejorative names such as ‘Choohra.'"

The bodies of
Imran and Irfan Masih have been moved to the morgue at Civil Hospital
Gujranwala for autopsy. 

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