Is there any one to help us? Agony of Christians of Sargodha district on snatching of land of church, graveyard and their homes by government. PCP report.
28 Jun 2002
At shahpur sadar, a sub district of Sargodha where 40 families are residing since 1920 and have been leased the piece of land about 52 Kanals during the British colonial rule in subcontinent of India. In 1928 a church to perform the religious rituals
The Christian inhabitants of Shahpur Sadar were also leased the agriculture lands for their livings but after the independence of Pakistan in 1947 the same agriculture lands were leased to Muslim immigrants from eastern Punjab and Christians were forced to do the jobs of sanitary workers in the municipal committee of this sub district. Now all these Christian inhabitants are poor and lost the respect in society on imposed profession of sanitary worker. The poverty among these Christians has made them voice less part of community in Pakistan.
Few years back the government of Punjab took the part of land for the hospital purpose on promises of the lease to be hold on the church name but now they are building boundary line and leaving no way for the church entrance as required by the congregation. In the area on which government is building the boundary wall is declared to be now the government property and the 40 Christian families and church land shall be treated as the government land which have put the Christian resident and congregation under tense situations. When firstly the hospital land was required by the government from the garden and courtyard of the church the congregation filed the case against the government on this decision but their poor economic conditions was unable to hire any prominent attorney to represent their case in court of law. That matter is still pending when the government has snatched the land of church and lands of homes of 40 families by constructing this boundary wall.
The said Church of God joined the Church of Pakistan in 1980 when Anglican, Scottish and Presbyterian churches merged to form this new domain in Pakistan. The Diocese headquarters of church of Pakistan is in Faisalabad city in which this congregation falls but unfortunately the Bishop of Church of Pakistan of Faisalabad is totally ignoring to this congregation as its not any big amount donator one to the said diocese office. Moreover the bishop of church of Pakistan has refused to visit the church site to support the Christians and to join them in prayers.
The influential Muslim landlords are also using the lands of graveyard for agriculture and they have occupied the land forcefully that Christians do, t speaks against desecration of this graves and cemetery with fear of life.
Talking to PCP team the residents said that" Is there any one to help us?" they said more that "As we are poor so you can understand our position in society and more that we are Christian. Everyone knows that Christians are living very poor life in Pakistan but no one have come forward to help us."
Responding to a question that why Bishop refused to help them they said that " We filed the case for church property on the name of Church of Pakistan, but very sadly, Bishop of faisalabad is not ready to help us, even he does not come to visit us. Many times we went to meet the Bishop of Faisalabad to inform him about all situation of this church. Because we were poor and yet we are poor, we were not able to control this whole property so we are losing our houses today. And more 42 kanal were for graveyard, most of its area is under irrigation by powerful landlords and we have very small area for graveyard. Now hospital management is making boundary wall but we are helpless".
But they have still confirm faith in Lord Jesus Christ and they were praying and longing for "Our Jesus Christ, our Savior please help us and send us a man like Moses who could help us to get our legal right in Pakistan. We also request to Government of Pakistan for help us and to give us our right.