Pakistani Chiristians lock thier horns to take over worthy land


By Masood Anwar

It is nothing but land worth of several billion rupees located in the prime locations of major cities in Pakistan that is the basic bone of contention between the two major groups of local Christians in Pakistan.

This tug of war for taking over the land could turn into bloodshed any time as both the groups are loosing their temper quickly. Ransack of the office of a Christian Trust Girls School and Hostel and physical torture to its woman administrator Ghazala Shafiq with the help of Police Force by the land mafia in Karachi in the recent past was not a mere incident but a tip of ice berg. There is an apprehension of a series of target killing and could lead a blood shedding among the Christian Community in all over Pakistan especially in Karachi. The Christian community in Pakistan already saw the bloody attack on its one of its NGO office Idara-e-Amno Insaf located in Rimpa Plaza in Karachi in 2003. In this incident, all of the seven persons present in the office were gunned down to eliminate the resistance against the land mafia. One year before of this incident, the head of the same NGO Mr. Ivan Moon was injected to death with poison on a street near to his office over the dispute of handing over the imported luxurious vehicles to the persons belonging to the same mafia. Prime land worth of hundreds of billions of rupees located in the heart of almost all the cities of Pakistan owned by Christian community now could be a starting point of blood shedding among this peaceful minority of the country as the land mafia has been activated to sold all these properties simultaneously and suppressing the resistance by the Church with power backed by state police and military men. Before the partition of the sub-continent, the Christian missions in this area were very active and they build hundreds of educational institutions and hospitals to attract the masses towards Christianity. They also build Churches having big lands with these. Now, all these premises are in the heart of theses cities and became prime land worth of hundreds of billions of rupees. It is the easy money and ripe fruit for the land mafia. Thus, it became active and found some “money-hungers” within the Church to siphon this money into their personal accounts. Naturally, some from the Church sensed the things and they started tried to save the Church as well as its lands from the grabbers. Now, the play of blood has been starting and now, it is seemed that it would end with a massive target killing and blood shedding within the community. Although all the facts are against one of the claimer Sadiq Daniel for the taking over the charge of the lands and institutions, he is trying to oust the present leadership with force. Now, the influential persons of government and police including city police chief is with him for their booty and he is enjoying the state power to oust all his opponents by force from the scene. He is claiming that Archbishop of Canterbury has recognized him as the Bishop of Pakistan but the facts are against him. Through a letter (link), the Archbishop excused to intervene in the matter and did not recognize him. In December 1927, Indian Church Act was passed by the British National Assembly and according to this Act, The Indian Church became a separate entity from the Church of England and was administered by the Bishop of Calcutta, the secretary of State and the Governor General of India were the Council Members. In 1942, The Indian Church has created a Church by the name of Lahore Diocesan Trust Association (LDTA) which was registered under companies act of 1913. Following the formation of LDTA, all the properties of the British Raj and the Indian Church Trustees were transferred to LDTA. After the partition in 1947, the newborn country Pakistan has adapted all the laws prevailing in United India but not substituted the governance through the Bishop of Calcutta. In 1970, the institution of Church of Pakistan was formed that was comprised of Anglican Church in Pakistan , Methodist Church in Pakistan , Church of Scotland in Pakistan and Lutheran Church in Pakistan . Following the formation of Church of Pakistan , the LDTA and other Dioceses became the part of this. At the moment, Bishop Ijaz Inayat is the Bishop of Pakistan and trying to save the land of the Church through all means including a series of war in the Courts of Law. As LDTA has the biggest land properties in Pakistan , it is the target of this land mafia. Even, there is a clear law to prohibit the sell of Church land without the approval of the Court of Law, they are trying to takeover the charge of these properties. One of a try to sell the prime properties was halted by Bishop Ijaz Inayat recently through the Court. The same land mafia was trying to commercialize a part of Sheldon Road School located in Boltan Market – the trade hub of Karachi . They built shops in one corner of the school and trying to rent out on goodwill (with the right of ownership). The goodwill of one of the shop in the market is more than Rs10 million. But they deposited only Rs30 thousand for all the shops in the account of Trust and remaining huge amount was in the pockets of the mafia. They also signed a contract for the erection of shopping plaza in Sadder – another commercial center for the electronics market in Karachi – in the premises of Saint Andrew’s Church located at Abdullah Haroon Road . The story of grabbing the land is not ended here. The land mafia is in the run to eliminate all the assets of the Church of Pakistan that is also has the heritage status.

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