Christians in Punjab: Once Again!

Editor’s Note: It is with deep regret that I write this piece. Regret at the  happening. I sincerely wish, more people to speak up against this.

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali

Adding to a series of targeting against the Christians in Punjab was the incident in Lahore on 1oth January 2012 when bulldozers razed to ground, at 6.30 am, a Church, a girls school for improvished families and at least seven houses. The families reportedly, had no opportunity to remove their belongings before their humble abodes were bulldozed. The bulldozed area is a two acre site which the Catholic Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore claims to belong to the Catholic diocese. He claimed that the property is owned by the Church since at least 1887 and has documentary proof of the same. (http://www.energypublisher.com/a/AJZOBSNGKS18/66682-Pakistan-Brutal-injustice-meted-out-to-Christians-church-and-homes-destroyed).

The institution, ”Gosha-e-Aman”situated at Allama Iqbal Road, Garhi Shahu, Lahore was run by a board of Catholic Church and managed by CARITAS Pakistan. The institution is registered in the name of Lahore Charitable Association established in 1887. The officials supervising the demolition claim the property was transferred to the Punjab Government. The Catholic Board claims this not only the ownership of the property is wrongfully being claimed by Punjab Government , but also, that no notice to evict the property was served to the legal property holders.(http://britishpakistanichristian.blogspot.com/).

Father Emmanuel Yousuf Mani, the NCPJ national director, told a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday that the demolished compound was home to three families and worth billions of rupees. He also stated that the litigation over the property was in court and a stay order had been taken against the demolition (http://tribune.com.pk/story/319374/punjab-government-razes-chrtistian-compound-chapel-despite-stay-orders/).

Families, evicted, were literally turned on the streets, losing their roof and worldly possessions.

In a politically charged air in Pakistan, with Supreme Court and Government embroiled in the NRO case, rumors of what next to come flying around and the Memogate controversy to name a few, the atrocity has gone uncommented by the self declared liberals and media at large. The talk shows are completely engrossed in calling anyone and everyone willing to indulge in the verbal diarrhea that leads to pointless discussions but on issues that effect the lives of the common man-there is quietness!

Where are the NGOs who claim to support all wrong actions? Where are the human right activists? Where are the liberals who claim equality for all Pakistanis?

When this scribe spoke with Brigadier Samson Sharaf® Member of Roman Catholic Diocese over phone, it was communicated that the property is owned by the Lahore Charitable Association. All bills have been paid by the Association since 1887 and all registration papers to the effect are also present in name of the Association. He stated this to be part of land mafia maneuver to take over the property.

The scribe was also informed, having questioned about the whereabouts of the displaced families, that some have been shifted to the compound of the St. Anthony’s Church in Garhi Shahu and some sit, under the open sky, on the rubble of their demolished abodes, waiting for a miracle to restore their homes to them.

Brigadier Samson Sharaf® says to have spoken with the MNA for the area, Sardar Ayaz who has assured Sharaf to help resolve the issue.

How does the good MNA for all his good intentions aim to resolve demolished buildings- is baffling. Who will be responsible for restructuring the Church, the school & the homes of these poor people? That of course, once the case is resolved which, the courts are notorious for taking years on end to settle. In the meanwhile where do these families go? Who will be responsible for providing them shelter, a LIFE?

This is yet another test for the judiciary, to give justice. I cannot but be reminded here of the all true saying of Ralph W Sockman,” The test of courage comes when we are in minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in majority”.

How long can we test the courage of the minority only? What about our courage as the majority? The courage to do the RIGHT and stand by the weak? The courage to be tolerant in spirit and deed?

The writer is a University Professor based in Lahore & may be contacted at: yasmeen.a.9@gmail.com

 

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Comments

  • Gerda  On January 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Scary Yasmeen. That people, whatever creed they belong to, can be evicted just like that …

  • K. Hussan Zia  On January 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    It is unconscionable, totally unacceptable and unforgivable. No one should be allowed to get away with it if the cancer is to be stopped from spreading. The rule of law has to prevail if there is to be a future worth looking forward to.

    We also have to see in the context of what is happening in the country politically. Pakhtoon Khawa is at war internally, terrorism is destroying what is left of Baluchistan, the commercial and industrial heart of Pakistan, Karachi, has been rendered a no man’s land.

    Now we are witnessing the stirring up of ethnic issues, divisions and religious persecution in Punjab. It is for consideration if this is simply a coincidence or is there more to it?

  • Shaukat  On January 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Now that, is something I will support, without question.
    We have really been treating our minorities very badly.
    I remember my youth; when we could dance at their homes. Enjoy.
    Love.
    SQ

  • SJ Mir  On January 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Transparent probe! Hang the b—–ds, who did the wrong, irrespective whether this side of the fence or that……………!

  • Viqar.abdi  On January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    It is so sad to read such a news and specially, in this gloom wrapped atmosphere. Is there no lawyer worthy his name in Lahore to go to the court and plead for these hapless people. Where is that lady who talks so much about humanrights, cant she give some of her time free of cost to these poor people. Where is the Khdim alla or is he khadim only to the people who mater?

    • Yasmeen Ali  On January 14, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Khadim Ala took over the property Sir.He’s in the right place.I guess!
      YAA

  • Sajid  On January 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Places of worship of any religion should be respected,,and the rights of minorities as well,,but remember one thing,,Christians are in minority but from same race part of same culture,,if they genuinely own the property,,should be returned back with,compensation,,after scrutiny,,Numerous mosques and some of the church lands were acquired Illegally,,once acquired,,cannot be challenged,due to religious repercussions ,,,

  • parvezamin  On January 14, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Yasmeen, drawing attention to this abominable act is admirable, but if the cause of the problem is to be eliminated, it is going to take people knowledgeable in our laws to do it. You could be the person best placed to organize that. I suggest we start with collecting a reference library of all the law books current in the UK. Then start up dating the system established here by Britain to maintain status quo (read deny colonial subjects their rights) with the system they designed for a free country (read, their own). The first shape of the update could be a written draft of the proposed changes. It is tempting to suggest that we simply throw out the old and adopt the new but that is dreaming. When this exercise is completed, we could consider enacting the laws in the national language. It is a shame that most of us cannot read our laws and therefore do not understand them. The people most ignorant of the law are the ones supposed to enforce them – like the people who carried out patently illegal orders for demolishing the Christian property. Civil servants will be properly educated when they refuse to carry out illegal orders by their superiors (who were these monsters in this case?). A dream? I don’t think so. Alot of work? Yes. Can it really be done? Yes. Who can start the move? You and I at the very least! Reply if you are interested.

    • Yasmeen Ali  On January 14, 2012 at 2:59 am

      I have every law book of UK. We in Pakistan NEVER changed ANY law just the title of the book.This is not a case for writing papers but fighting in court. Alleviating the problems of those displaced.The take over is by Punjab Govt.Sir.

  • Murali Mahidhara  On January 14, 2012 at 2:50 am

    It is not only Christians, Hindus are humiliated in myriad ways.(Protection money, Jijia)Shia Muslims are persecuted. You have over 30,000 Madrasas that encourage religious intolerance and train terrorists. There is ISI help behind this. Eg. They went beyond their borders and kill Jews in Bombay. How many Pakistani reporters are murdered for telling the truth? Punjab Governor is killed for “speaking” against unlawful death sentence upon a poor, uneducated,Christian woman, while people dance in the streets. Pakistan is a lost case. Waste of time. Mohan

  • Subhani  On January 14, 2012 at 3:12 am

    That the Punjab Govt. did this is appalling and shameful. A very worrying development.

  • Shaheen  On January 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Horrible…..& we run to the West (Christians ) for jobs…+ a good time …ruddy hypocrites !

  • Zubair  On January 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Shame, if true.
    Zubair

  • Sajid  On January 14, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Alarming situation but needs verification from concerned land and revenue department. Few mosques were demolished in past like Gujjar Khan and other areas in Pakistan so supermacy of law should prevail.

  • Arif Khan  On January 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

    This is against the Edicts Thisby Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) to St Catherine in writing in in the 7th Century “No Christian property will be encrouched upon by any Muslim”.It means that all these People are NOT MUSLIMS Arif Khan

  • Ata  On January 15, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Shame on us bigoted people, no tolerance, no adherence to our own religion that these extremist want to smash. Shame on us…
    Ata

  • Samson Simon Sharaf  On January 16, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Yasmeen, Thanks for reacting so quickly and giving it wide circulation.

  • Ian Ombima  On January 20, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Powerful, sad but inspirational article – So long as there still are true seekers of justice not afraid to write about the truth such as yourself, there is a voice and hope for the disenfranchised minorities.

  • pozycjonowanie stron www  On January 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Forgive and forget.

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