» 01/30/2014, 00.00
Karachi’s Christians, crushed by the land mafia, seek help from Church
The community of Horizon Plaza is subject to abuse, violence and discrimination. Since 2011, local land mafia backed by authroities have stolen homes, property and assets. Despite the complaints, so far police and prosecutors have never taken any action . Diocesan priest demands justice "for those who suffer".
Islamabad ( AsiaNews) -
Christians in Horizon Plaza, a district of Karachi, are victims of continued
incidents of abuse , violence and discrimination in the complete indifference,
if not connivance , of the police forces and institutions. Economic
interests and the question of land possession for business and commercial
initiatives - are behind the attacks. Even
the Pakistani organizations that fight for human rights have been unable to
resolve the situation and restore peace and security to the people. Now
the community have appealed to the Catholic Church, to intervene on their
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr . George
Montgomery, a diocesan priest in Karachi, confirms that the case is being
considered by court judges although so far there have been no significant
demand justice for those who suffer" added the priest, who describes the security
situation in the metropolis to the south of the country as "shaky". "The
land mafia - he explains -are taking advantage of the situation that affects
the most marginalized groups ."
drama of the Christian community of Horizon Plaza began in 2011, when some
landlords in the area - with the support of leading political parties - illegally
occupied apartments and houses, evicting tenants with regular permits and ownership
Complaints to police went unheeded, while the abusive occupants committed all
sorts of abuse and bullying against residents, particularly women. Not
even a petition to the High Court , which is still pending , has had any
appeal to the political and institutional leaders has so far fallen on deaf
ears . Meanwhile,
attacks against buildings and property of Christians have increased , which is
why the community has been left with no other solution than seek help from the
Catholic Church of Pakistan .
over land and property have arisen several times in the past: in October 2011,
two Christian brothers in Faisalabad were abducted by a Muslim family of
landowners for whom they worked. The
kidnap was motivated by economic disputes between the landowners and laborers, in
the absolute indifference of the police. A
month later the Catholic activist Akram Masih, father of four, was murdered by
the land mafia for his fight for the rights of the poorest, especially
With more than 180 million
people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the
world and the second largest Muslim country after Indonesia. About 80 per cent
of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are about 20 per cent of the total. There
are also small communities of Hindus (1.85 per cent), Christians (1.6 per cent)
and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence
against ethnic or religious minorities has been on rise in recent years with
Shia Muslims and Christians as the main targets.
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