Two Christian men – one an American evangelist and the other a Pakistani missionary – have exposed a senior member of an al-Qaida-linked group behind a trade in Christian children by going undercover and secretly filming their purchase of 20 boys, age six to 12.
Gul Khan, a wealthy militant and senior member of Jamaat-ud Daawa, an Islamic organization declared by the U.S. State Department to be a front for another banned terrorist group banned in Pakistan for joining with al-Qaida in 2003 in an attempted assassination of President Pervez Musharraf, was filmed by a hidden camera accepting $28,500 from a Pakistani missionary posing as a businessman wanting to purchase boys to work for him as street beggars.
The two Christian men hatched their elaborate sting after seeing pictures of the abducted boys, taken from Christian villages in the Punjab, the London Times reported. During the months the two developed their plan, the American evangelist, who runs a small charity called Help Pakistani Children returned to the U.S. to raise funds. He asked to be identified only as “Brother Dave,” His Pakistani counterpart took on the identity of a businessman named “Amir.”
“We knew if we just purchased the boys, the slavers would just restock. We would be fuelling the slave trade,” said Brother David.
Neither man knew when Amir made contacts in the black market to set up a meeting with the boys’ abductors, the trail would lead to Khan or the JUD.
“We realized we were out of our depth,” Brother David said. But they didn’t give up – and they prayed.
Within a week, Amir had purchased three of the boys for $5,000 and paid a $2,500 deposit for the remaining 17. Amir was given two months to raise $28,500 to complete the purchase. Khan, he said, told him it would not be a problem if the deadline was missed – he could make more money by selling them for their organs.
While Brother David was in the U.S. raising the needed funds, Amir continued to socialize with Khan who always had a retinue of Kalashnikov-toting bodyguards. He also began to work with the police in hopes they would arrest Khan, but the authorities insisted that any transaction be secretly recorded for evidence.
Almost two weeks ago, Amir was summoned to meet Khan to complete the deal. Although police, disguised as laborers, were stationed close to the outdoor meeting site, Khan’s agents took Amir and his assistant to a second location for the exchange.
To Amir’s dismay, Khan took the bag of cash – and the assistant as a hostage – saying he would release the children and the assistant once he determined the currency was real. Khan was filmed driving from the meeting with a bag full of money to the JUD headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore.
In the late ’90s, Osama bin Laden funded the building of JUD’s headquarters. The group’s assets were frozen last month after the U.S. Treasury Department declared the group a terrorist organization.
“I was so praying that your money was good,” Amir’s assistant told him later.
After several hours, the hostage and 17 boys were freed. They have been returned to their parents, many of whom had given up hope of ever seeing their sons.
The two Christian men are prepared to present their evidence and have demanded the prosecution of Khan and an investigation of JUD, but the police told them the reach of Pakistan’s Islamic groups is too long for them to be dealt with directly. They continue to flourish, despite repeated “crackdowns” on extremists by the Pakistan government.
JUD’s leader, Hafez Muhamed Sayeed, was accused of inciting riots earlier this year in connection with the cartoons of the prophet Muhammed published by a Danish newspaper.
“The slavers must be stopped and brought to justice,” Brother David said. “I pray that a public outcry will arise in Pakistan and around the world that will put an end to their vile business.”