Pakistan: Pastor's son escapes kidnappers
A Pakistani pastor says his son was kidnapped by terrorists, but he was able to escape and return to his family.
That's the claim made by Pastor Javaid Austin in an email to the ASSIST News Service. Austin is chairman and a founding member of the Light of the City Church in Lahore. He has also been a member of the Pakistan Christian Welfare Council (PCWC) for the past 22 years.
Austin claims that area police are corrupt and not taking any action against the "terrorists" who he says kidnapped his son.
Austin said the lack of action continues despite frequent requests to the police to do something. Austin said the "logic" behind this is that no officer wants to admit someone has been kidnapped from his district. He said that to do so would "directly hit the promotions and benefits of him which he expected to get in future".
Austin said his son Naeem Javaid, 25, was kidnapped on February 25 in Lahore, Pakistan. Austin said his son was walking on his own.
His son told him that a Suzuki stopped by him, and a man with a face obscured by a handkerchief asked him for directions. The address the men were trying to find was written on a small scrap of paper.
Austin said as his son tried to read the address, a gang member approached Naeem from behind and put a gun to his back. Naeem was ordered to get in the car without making a sound. He did so, saying that if he had made any noise he would have been killed on the spot.
Naeem said there were four men, and he was flanked by one on each side. Everyone had guns. His eyes were covered, his hands were bound tightly, and he was ordered to bend down.
They reportedly travelled for a number of hours. Naeem said he was totally unable to move and he had no idea where they were headed. He prayed the entire time
Suddenly, Naeem told his father, the vehicle stopped and one of his kidnappers got out to use the bathroom. However, he didn't close the door properly.
Naeem said he began thinking, "They are taking me to an unknown place and in the end they will kill me, so I should take a chance. I will not get the opportunity again."
Naeem told his father there was a small piece of pipe under the seat which he used to pry the rope off his hands. Then he removed the covering off his eyes.
Then, Naeem said, "I gripped the neck of that terrorist and punched him hard. He tumbled out of the car, and his gun ... dropped from his hands. I quickly jumped out from the car and did not (look) behind. I was sure that they (would) open gun fire, so I ran very fast . But I never heard the (sound) of gunfire."
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Naeem said he ran around in confusion for about two hours. He spent the night hidden under a tree. The next morning, he walked to the main road where he saw a small cab. He said he asked to be taken to a public call center.
Naeem said he told his father an abbreviated version of what had happened and asked him to take quick action. With help from the phone operator, Austin was able to learn his son's location. He was in Rawalpindi, about five or so hours from Lahore.
The operator told Austin that Naeem was safe and he would keep him hidden until someone would come for him. Austin said the operator told him, "Don't involve police in this matter. As you know, they are corrupt."
Austin said he agreed. Fortunately, his cousin lived in Rawalpindi and within about 40 minutes he came to get Naeem. He stayed there that night and travelled home to Lahore with another relative the next day.
He said, "It's Jesus Christ's love that makes the miracles come to pass."
Austin told his son, "Everyone in the family was worried and crying for you whether you are safe or not. Every second we were having bad thoughts like murder ... It was a very difficult time for us ... We did not sleep (the) whole night. (We were) just waiting for you. Every family member waited for your phone call. We were having (a) feeling of loss."
However, Austin told his son there was something else going on. "We were also praying for you ... We prayed for several hours. We believe that the power of prayers have released you. It was impossible, but prayers made it possible."
Austin said while the family was praying, He believes God was at work. He told Naeem, "I believe that (the) rope which was wrapped around (your) hand opened through prayers. One terrorist went out and you got the opportunity to ran. It was under God's plan (that) you escaped and got back home just Jesus Christ was your guard."
Austin concluded his email to ANS by saying his family is still unsafe. He said Islamic extremists are against because of his advocacy for "voiceless Christians" in Pakistan, as well as the prayer meetings he holds.
Austin said, "Most of the time Muslim people attend our ... prayer meetings. I do not force them to attend. Muslims ... are inspired by the teaching of Lord Jesus Christ; that is why they attend ... Islamic Islamic extremists and leader do not like (that)".
Austin asked that the international Christian community pray for his family, as he doesn't want to see harm come to any of them.