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  • » 10/06/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Armed group kills Christian over disputed land in Punjab

    Jibran Khan

    Last night, Safdar Masih was shot to death; others, including children, were injured. The local Church had bought some land to build an orphanage, but the local land mafia laid claim to it. Police refuses to open an investigation into the affair.
    Lahore (AsiaNews) – Safdar Masih, a Pakistani Christian living in Mian Channu, a town in Khanewal District (Punjab), was murdered Wednesday night over a land dispute. A dozen people were injured. According to sources, a local Church had bought the land to build an orphanage, but an influential local feudal lord, Muhammad Ali Durrani, tried to claim the land.

    Local residents say the rich Muslim backs the land mafia and tried to take the land bought by the Church. On Monday, local residents submitted an application at the local police station against Durrani and his associates, but police tried to pressure them and threatened them to withdraw their complaint.

    On Wednesday, arriving by car, armed men attacked locals, murdered Safdar Masih, and injured over a dozen other residents including children. They also took over the land. Police did not register a First Information Report (FIR) about the anti-Christian attack.

    The Catholic Church in Khanewal has condemned the latest incident and called for immediate action.

    “We strongly condemn this murder,” Fr Ilyas John from Khanewal said. “This is not the first incident of land grabbing in the district,” he told AsiaNews. “Influential feudals target the weak and the vulnerable.”

    The local Church does not have a big congregation but bought the land to build an orphanage. However, it should have given greater consideration to the organizational capacity needed in taking such a step because “the land mafia in this region is very strong and they keep an eye on such projects as they are an easy catch,” the clergyman explained.
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    See also

    28/10/2011 PAKISTAN
    Christian farm workers abducted by Muslim landowners for money in Faisalabad
    The Masih brothers worked on land owned by the Dogar family. The latter are Muslim and some of its members used to get drunk and beat the tenants. When Asif and Khadim decided to quit, they were abducted. Nothing has been known about their fate since September. The authorities have not investigated the matter because one of the Dogars is a policeman.

    21/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    Lahore, one hundred Muslims and Christians in support of the Christian “blasphemer”
    Among supporters the Muslim president of Samanabad’s Commercial Union, who admits to having been duped by “instigators” who presented the 84 year old Walter Fazal Khan as a blasphemer. In the meantime, Charsadda Christians appeal for prayers for their frightening situation.

    10/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    84-year-old Christian accused of blasphemy to force him to sell land
    Walter Fazal Khan, an 84-year-old man from Lahore, is in jail, accused of burning pages of the Quran. His family says this is a plot orchestrated by some businessmen who did not take kindly to the man’s refusal to sell them his land at their price.

    17/04/2013 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Muslim leaders defend young Christian against false blasphemy accusations
    Philip Masih was accused of removing a poster on a shop wall by a Muslim neighbour who got armed men together to punish the alleged blasphemer. The police and the authorities successfully prevented a violent escalation. The two had argued before and the Muslim man wanted revenge.

    27/02/2012 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Christians, not Muslim extremists, behind attack against the Grace Ministry Church
    Sajid Masih, one the two men wounded in the incident, confirms this version of events. Initially, blame was placed on a fundamentalist group. A property dispute is behind the attack. Faisalabad vicar warns that yellow journalism could undermine interfaith harmony.



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