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Iqbal Masih

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   Pakistani activist against child labour and bonded labour

   Iqbal Masih
   a+q+b+a+l+ m+s+hk
   Ehsan Ullah Khan meets a shy and afraid Iqbal Masih.png
   Masih with Bandhua Mukti Morcha activist Ehsan Ullah Khan in
   Sheikhupura (September 1992)
   Born 1983
   Muridke, Punjab, Pakistan
   Died 16 April 1995(1995-04-16) (aged 11-12)
   Muridke, Punjab, Pakistan
   Nationality Pakistani
   Organization Bandhua Mukti Morcha (BMM)
   Known for Abolitionism
   Awards Reebok Human Rights Award (1994)
   World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (2000)

   Iqbal Masih (Urdu: a+q+b+a+l+ m+s+hk; 1983 - 16 April 1995) was a
   Pakistani child labourer and activist who campaigned against abusive
   child labour in Pakistan.^[1]^[2]^[3]^[4]^[5]
   [ ]


     * 1 Biography
     * 2 Escape and activism
     * 3 Death
     * 4 Legacy
     * 5 References
     * 6 Further reading
     * 7 External links


   Iqbal Masih was born in 1983 in Muridke, a commercial city outside of
   Lahore in Punjab, Pakistan, into a poor Catholic
   family.^[1]^[2]^[3]^[4]^[5] At the age of four, he was sent to work by
   his family to help them pay off their debts.^[6] Iqbal's family
   borrowed 600 rupees (less than US$12.00 at the time) from a local
   employer who owned a carpet weaving business. In return, Iqbal was
   required to work as a carpet weaver until the debt was paid off. Every
   day, he would rise before dawn and make his way along dark country
   roads to the factory, where he and most of the other children were
   tightly bound with chains to the carpet looms to prevent escape. Iqbal
   knew his debt would not be paid off any time soon and one day could not
   take it anymore. He ripped one of the carpets and got into serious
   trouble with the home factory owner Hussain Khan.

Escape and activism[edit]

   At the age of 10, Iqbal escaped his slavery, after learning that bonded
   labour had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.^[7]
   He escaped and attempted to report his employer Ashad to the police,
   but the police brought him back to the factory seeking a finder's fee
   for returning escaped bonded labourers.^[8] Iqbal escaped a second time
   and attended the Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) school for
   former child slaves and quickly completed a four-year education in only
   two years.^[9] Iqbal helped over 3,000 Pakistani children that were in
   bonded labour escape to freedom and made speeches about child labour
   all over the world.

   He expressed a desire to become a lawyer to better equip him to free
   bonded labourers, and he began to visit other countries, including
   Sweden and the United States, to share his story, encouraging others to
   join the fight to eradicate child slavery.^[10]

   In 1994 he received the Reebok Human Rights Award in Boston, and in his
   acceptance speech he said: "I am one of those millions of children who
   are suffering in Pakistan through bonded labour and child labour, but I
   am lucky that due to the efforts of Bonded Labour Liberation Front, I
   go out in freedom I am standing in front of you here today. After my
   freedom, I joined BLLF School and I am studying in that school now. For
   us slave children, Ehsan Ullah Khan and BLLF have done the same work
   that Abraham Lincoln did for the slaves of America. Today, you are free
   and I am free too."^[11]
   Plaque in memory of Iqbal Masih in Almeria, Spain
   Eshan Ullah Khan visits the Iqbal Masih Square in Santiago de
   Compostela, Spain
   'The girls and boys of Vitoria-Gasteiz in homage to Iqbal Masih',
   memorial in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain


     "Iqbal Masih, a brave and eloquent boy who attended several
     international conferences to denounce the hardships of child weavers
     in Pakistan, was shot dead with a shotgun while he and some friends
     were cycling in their village of Muridke, near Lahore."^[12]

   Iqbal was fatally shot by the "carpet mafia," while visiting relatives
   in Muridke on 16 April 1995, Easter Sunday.^[3]^[13] He was only 12
   years old.

   His mother said she did not believe her son had been the victim of a
   plot by the "carpet mafia".^[14] However, the BLLF disagreed because
   Iqbal had received death threats from individuals connected to the
   Pakistani carpet industry.^[14] His funeral was attended by
   approximately 800 mourners.

   Following his death, Pakistani economic elites responded to declining
   carpet sales by denying that they were using bonded child labour in
   their factories and by employing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
   to brutally harass and arrest activists working for the BLLF. The
   Pakistani press conducted a smear campaign against the BLLF, arguing
   that child labourers received high wages and favourable working


     * Iqbal's cause inspired the creation of organizations such as We
       Charity,^[16] a Canada-based charity and youth movement, and the
       Iqbal Masih Shaheed Children Foundation,^[17] which has started
       over 20 schools in Pakistan.
     * In 1994, Iqbal visited Broad Meadows Middle School in Quincy,
       Massachusetts,^[18] and spoke to 7th graders about his life. He
       inspired the famous afterschool program run by teacher Ronald Adams
       called ODW (Operation: Day's Work).^[clarification
       needed]^[citation needed] When the students learned of his death,
       they decided to raise money with a financially productive program
       called "Penny Power," and build a school in his honour in Kasur,
       Pakistan.^[citation needed]
     * Iqbal's story was depicted in a book entitled Iqbal by Francesco
       D'Adamo,^[19] a fictional story based on true events, from the
       point of view of a girl named Fatima.
     * In 1994 he received the Reebok Youth in Action Award.^[20]
     * In 1996 the Movimiento Cultural Cristiano^[21] (MCC- Christian
       Cultural Movement) and Camino Juvenil Solidario (CJS- Youth
       Solidarity Path) promoted 16 April as International Day against
       Child Slavery in Spain and South America.^[22]
     * In 1998 the newly formed Istituto Comprensivo Iqbal Masih, a
       comprehensive education institute comprising several schools in
       Trieste, Italy, was named after him.^[23]
     * In 2000 he received a posthumous World's Children's Prize for the
       Rights of the Child and the Piazzale dei Traghetti Iqbal Masih was
       inaugurated in Genoa, Italy.
     * The 2006 book The Little Hero: One Boy's Fight for Freedom tells
       the story of his legacy.^[24]
     * In 2009 the United States Congress established the annual Iqbal
       Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor.^[25]
     * On 16 April 2012, the Council of Santiago, after a proposal of
       Movimiento Cultural Cristiano, inaugurated a square named after
       Iqbal in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.^[26]
     * The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to children's rights
       advocate Kailash Satyarthi^[27] on grounds of prevention of child
       labour and promotion of female education. Satyarthi mentioned Masih
       in his Nobel Peace Prize award speech, dedicating it to him and
       other martyrs.^[28]
     * In 2016, the "X Iqbal Masih Rugby Tournament" was held in Catania,
     * On 17 April 2017, the University of Salamanca committed itself to
       celebrating every 16 April as a Day Against Child Slavery on behalf
       of Iqbal Masih.^[30]


    1. ^ ^a ^b Fair, C. Christine; Gregory, Shaun (8 April 2016). Pakistan
       in National and Regional Change: State and Society in Flux.
       Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 9781134924653. "The plight of Pakistan's
       bonded labourers came to international attention briefly with the
       murder of 12-year-old Christian Iqbal Masih in 1995."
    2. ^ ^a ^b Winter, Jeanette (1999). Tikvah: Children's Book Creators
       Reflect on Human Rights. Chronicle Books. p. 84.
       ISBN 9781587170973. "Iqbal Masih was born into a poor Christian
       family in the village of Muridke, in Pakistan."
    3. ^ ^a ^b ^c World Vision, Volumes 38-39. World Vision. 1995. p. 41.
       "Police harassment and death threats levelled at Kailash Satyarthi,
       chairman of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude, have
       prompted worldwide concern for the Indian activist's safety. But
       it's too late for Pakistani Christian Iqbal Masih, 12, a former
       bonded carpet-weaver who traveled the world crusading against child
       labor and succeeded in shutting down many carpet factories in
       Pakistan. On Easter Sunday, 1995, he was shot dead in his home
       village in Muridke. A victim of target killing."
    4. ^ ^a ^b Ryan, Timothy (1995). "Iqbal Masih's Life -- a Call To
       Human Rights Vigilance". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved
       10 March 2018. "But on a more complex and sinister level, there is
       some connection between the fact that Iqbal was Christian and the
       fact that he was pressed into slavery in the first place."
    5. ^ ^a ^b "Archbishop calls for Day Against Child Slavery to be
       dedicated to memory of Catholic boy". Catholic News Agency.
       Retrieved 2021-12-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
    6. ^ Iqbal Masih; Blair Underwood (2002). "Presentation and Acceptance
       of Reebok Youth in Action Award". In Robin Broad (ed.). Global
       Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy. Rowman &
       Littlefield. p. 199. ISBN 978-0742510340. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
    7. ^ Sandy Hobbs; Jim McKechnie; Michael Lavalette (1 October 1999).
       Child Labor: A World History Companion. ABC-CLIO. pp. 153-154.
       ISBN 978-0874369564.
    8. ^ Kile, J. "Iqbal Masih | moralheroes.org". Retrieved 2021-07-15.
    9. ^ Kile, J (20 April 2011). "Iqbal Masih".
   10. ^ Chowdhry, Wilson. "Iqbal Masih Pakistan's Forgotten Hero".
   11. ^ "Human Rights Youth in Action Award" (PDF).
   12. ^ "Boy leader of child labour protest is shot dead". The
       Independent. 19 April 1995.
   13. ^ "Iqbal Masih's Heart-Rending Tragedy". pangaea.org. 19 January
   14. ^ ^a ^b "Plot Discounted in Death of Pakistani Boy". 21 April 1995.
   15. ^ "Child Labor in Pakistan". The Atlantic. February 1996.
   16. ^ "Iqbal and Craig: Two children against child labour". 19 January
       2016. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 19
       January 2016.
   17. ^ "Iqbal Masih Shaheed Children Foundation". 19 January 2016.
   18. ^ "Broad Meadows Middle School, Paragraph 5". 19 January 2016.
   19. ^ Francesco D'Adamo (19 January 2016). "Iqbal".
   20. ^ GoodWeave (18 March 2013). "Iqbal Masih, Child Hero". Archived
       from the original on 2021-12-22 - via YouTube.
   21. ^ "Movimiento Cultural Cristiano - Web Oficial".
   22. ^ "Welcome to the website of Iqbal Masih in solidaridad.net - Iqbal
       Masih". solidaridad.net.
   23. ^ "Iqbal Masih - Storia". www.iqbalmasihtrieste.it. Archived from
       the original on 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
   24. ^ Crofts, Andrew (2006). The Little Hero: One Boy's Fight for
       Freedom - Iqbal Masih's Story. ISBN 9781904132844.
   25. ^ "Iqbal Masih Award". 19 January 2016.
   26. ^
       -plaza-en-santiago.html Plaza Iqbal Masih
   27. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 2014". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved February
       11, 2016.
   28. ^ ""Let Us March!" Nobel Lecture by Kailash Satyarthi, Oslo, 10
       December 2014". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved February 11, 2016. "I
       give the biggest credit of this honour to my movement's Kaalu
       Kumar, Dhoom Das and Adarsh Kishore from India and Iqbal Masih from
       Pakistan who made the supreme sacrifice for protecting the freedom
       and dignity of children. I humbly accept this award on behalf of
       all such martyrs, my fellow activists across the world and my
   29. ^ Stampa, Ufficio. "X Torneo "Coppa Iqbal Masih" 23/24 aprile
       2016". sicilia.federugby.it.
   30. ^ "Colegio Oficial de Graduados Sociales de Salamanca".

Further reading[edit]


   Andrew Crofts (15 June 2006). The Little Hero: One Boy's Fight for
   Freedom: Iqbal Masih's Story. Summersdale Publishers LTD - ROW.
   ISBN 978-1-84839-492-6.

     Susan Kuklin (15 October 1998). Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against
   Child Slavery. Henry Holt and Company (BYR). ISBN 978-0-8050-5459-0.

External links[edit]

   Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iqbal Masih.

     * "Who Was Iqbal Masih?" mirrorimage.com.

   Gannon, Kathy (May 31, 1995). "Young Activist's Death Hits Pakistani
   Carpet Sales". Los Angeles Times.


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