Hundreds of Christian staged hunger strike against Pakistan Railway for St. Andrews Church restoration.
08 Jul 2005
LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways authorities have assured the St Andrews Church Restoration Committee that if it can prove that a building being used by a school is a church, it will be handed over to Christians.
Negotiations between the Railways authorities and the committee continued for the second day on Thursday. The church committee members submitted church papers as evidence to Deputy Chief Engineer Abdul Samad Khan. The Railways authorities said, "Pakistan Railways respects the worship places of all religions."
Hundreds of Christians staged a hunger strike at Bogey Road Catholic Church on June 20 and demanded the Pakistan Railways return St Andrews Church on 45 Grand Trunk Road. They alleged that a local school was violating sanctity of the church. The strike continued till July 7. The protesters said that Britons built St Andrews Church in 1899 for Christian railway employees. After partition, the
Presbyterian Church took control of the church, where people used to come for worship till 1986.
The Railways authorities closed the main entrance of the church and linked it with the Pakistan Railways' St Andrews High School. The Railways authorities leased out the school to the Beacon House School System in 2001, the committee said.
Sadiq Chaudhry, Church Restoration Committee president, and Daniel Paul, secretary general, met the Railways authorities. Yousaf Gill and Patras Ghani also joined the meeting on the second day.
The Railways authorities also sought a letter from the Roman Catholic Church asking whether it would take responsibility for the church. anjum herald gill