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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 02/19/2015, 00.00


    Faisalabad: for the past year, dozens of Christian families have been homeless, threatened by Muslims

    Shafique Khokhar

    The authorities in Samundari (Punjab) have arbitrarily and unilaterally torn down homes without warning residents. A Muslim who resents the local minority is behind the deed. Christians demand respect and dignity.

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - "We have lived here for 25 years, since the then (martyred) Bishop John Joseph gave us this land, from a government tender. Then, one day, the Samundari municipal government suddenly demolished our houses, without warning us," said Fazal Masih, a local Christian elder who had his own home torn down. The town is located in Faisalabad District, Punjab province.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, he said, "For months, we have been forced to live in some makeshift shelters on land "owned by local Muslims" and "their relatives". During this period, "Part of our group has been forced to live in tents, and our relatives have received threats from Muslim neighbours."

    For dozens of Christian families in Samundari, this is a desperate situation. For years, they lived in the town, in 72 houses. In recent years, 13 additional houses were built near a local government hospital that was never used, except as a barn and an animal shelter.

    Asghar Ali Jutt, a local Muslim landowner, has always held a deep hatred towards Christians because of their faith.

    On several occasions, he has insulted and attacked the local community, threatening to destroy their homes.

    Finally, he went to the city administration, claiming that the Christian houses were illegal and had to be torn down.

    Following his appeal, the authorities destroyed the houses last year during the period of Lent, without warning the residents.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Nusrat Bibi, one of the residents of the demolished houses, said that some of things he owned had been stolen.

    "We are forced to live with relatives," he explained, "and to work in the fields owned by Muslims without pay. We are still victims of threats and harassment by Muslims."

    After the destruction of the houses, "we no longer even have toilets or latrines." For this reason, "we want our homes rebuilt so that we can live with respect and dignity".

    On Monday, Christian leader Robin Daniel, and a representative of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) visited the area to assess personally the situation and show solidarity to the victims. Both described the actions by the local government as "barbaric behaviour" vis-à-vis "the poor Christians," who have been homeless for the past year.

    The case has drawn the attention of Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Khalil Tahir Sindhu who wrote a letter to the city administration asking them to find a solution for the Christians.

    With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.

    About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).

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    See also

    18/05/2006 PAKISTAN
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    06/09/2016 15:03:00 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad bishop: Pakistan is mourning for the attack on Peshawar’s Christian colony (Video)

    Four Taliban terrorists, who targeted Christians on Warsak Road, blew themselves up after a gun fight with police that lasted 40 minutes. Farooq Masih’s house went to pieces, but he and his family managed to get to safety. The attackers wanted to kidnap women and children.

    28/05/2016 17:31:00 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: hundreds of Christians protest police brutality against their pastor

    For two days, Christians have protested demanding justice from the authorities, but to no avail. On 19 May, police agents raided the church where Kamal Chugtai was celebrating Mass. They beat the pastor and intimidated the faithful. They want “to silence us,” he said, “but we shall not be silenced; we shall continue to raise our voice on behalf of minorities.”

    05/12/2011 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Christian and Muslim leaders revive peace process
    The curia hosted an interfaith seminar, attended by prominent figures from the two faiths. Bishop Coutts said that the city is "a symbol of peace" for Pakistan. Muslim personality speaks of "the blood spilled" to build harmony. During the meeting times of prayer.

    28/12/2011 PAKISTAN
    After blasphemy charges against him are dropped, Christian prays for other believers in prison
    Rehmat Masih was arrested on 19 June 2010. He had come to the defence of Christians in a quarrel with a Muslim over land. On 18 November 2011, a court dismissed his case for lack of evidence.

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