Christian Village Devastated by Muslim Land-Grabbers
02 Sep 2006
A Christian Village "New Rehman Pura" situated at 70 km southwest of Lahore, Tehsil Chunian District Kasur devastated by Muslim Land grabbers on 4 th August 2006. Six houses collapsed, 20 Christians are injured including 1 to 7 year's children. Chief Coordinator SLMP, Mr. Sohail Johnson visited the demolished village along with team members.
Team met the villagers and collected the facts as under:
According to SLMP's collected facts, in 1990, Christians bought 2 acre piece of land from a Muslimb fellow Mohammad Basharat son of Mohammad Bashir, in village Rehman Pura.
Actually the village consist 250 Christian families excluding Muslim families in the whole village but the disputed land affected 25 Christian families. Mohammad Basharat's nephew Abdul Hafeez son of Abdul Aziz (ex-Cleric) claimed that Marlas piece of land from Christians' property. Christian approached record keeper of lands who measured the land and declared that Christians' occupied the land legally.
Iqbal Masih son of Niaz Masih told SLMP team on asking a question, "We are residing here from 1990. We bought the land from Mohammad Basharat son of Mohammad Bashir. Now about 16 years later Basharat's nephew Abdul Hafeez son of Abdul Aziz
(ex-cleric) claimed that land occupied by 25 Christian families, is belong to him. He warned Iszhaq, Jafer and some other Christians to quit the land otherwise he would cause harm to them."
SLMP team member asked Iqbal Masih that what was happened on 4 th August 2006. He replied, "On 4 th August 2006 Abdul Hafeez along with 10/12 vagabonds poured canal water into the foundation of our houses. We attempted to stop them but they were armed with deadly weapons. They gave us threats to death. Our houses foundations became weak and first of all one of a fellow villager named Faqeer's house collapsed and then six houses collapsed one by one."
SLMP team member asked him if any injured in these collapses. He told, "About 20 Christians got injured in these collapses."
Villagers told that Abdul Hafeez is ill-reputed in the village. He was a cleric in the village, about 1 Â½ years ago he was blamed to fraud in Charity for mosque. He was proved for corruption and terminated from his post as cleric. Chief Coordinator Mr. Sohail Johnson asked the villager if they moved application against Abdul Hafeez.
Iqbal son of Niaz told that they have moved an application against Abdul Hafeez but police did not take any legal action against the culprits. Sub-Inspector Mohammad Arshad first made promises to settle the matter and take action against Abdul Hafeez and others but afterwards he flatly refused. Poor Christian villagers approached Nazim of their locality and asked for help. He met with Station House Officer (SHO) police named as Rana Haneef who offered Rs. 5000/= for medical treatment of injured persons but he did not tack any legal action on the application moved by villagers.
Meanwhile Abdul Hafeez got stay order from the court. Christian villagers received notice from court not to reconstruct their houses and appear before court on 21 st August 2006. When the villagers were on the way to court on 21 st August 2006 for hearing, Abdul Hafeez and his companions opened fires on Christian villager to stop them appearing in the court. The attackers stopped them in the way and threatened them to death.
Afterwards villagers came to know that next date of hearing is fixed for 1 st November 2006. SLMP team during Fact Finding Villagers again move application against Abdul Hafeez about firing on 21 August 2006 but SHO is not lodging FIR against the culprits by saying that there is no one injured that's why he can not take legal action.
Household under Plastic Sheets Present Situation:
Villagers are living in the village under the shelter of Plastic sheets. Their households are scattered. They are still under threats to dire consequences. Some of villagers have been left the village and took refuge with their relatives. They can not sleep due to fear of expected attack at any time. Police is not taking care of Villagers. Police also did not take any legal action against Abdul Hafeez and his escorts. SHO Rana Haneef has been transferred to another police station and new SHO got heavy bribe from the culprits and joined hands with them. He is supporting the land grabbers while he should support poor victims of the Village. People of locality are sympathetic to villagers but no body dare to face Abdul Hafeez.
Incidents ratio of attacks on Christians' villages for land grabbing is increasing day by day. We are just engaged with the incident of Thaiki Village Shraqpur while this incident took place. International Media should assist us to prevent such kind of incidents. Government of Pakistan announced a new slogan "Police is Your Friend" in fact authorities displayed badges of this slogan in the uniform of police which is an attempt to make friendly relations between public and police. It is a positive change in Pakistan but such kind of cases/incidents show that minorities are still under persecutions by Muslim extremists and land grabbers. Government of Pakistan is failed to come up with the requirement to prove this slogan, as Sub Inspector Mohammad Arshad did not take any action against Abdul Hafeez instead of their illegal deed of pouring canal water into the foundations of poor villager's houses. On the other hand SHO Rana Haneef offered just Rs. 5000/= for treatment of injured persons while he should have take action on the application. It sounds Government is failed to protect minorities, especially Christian in Pakistan.