Dawn News

Christians desiring settlement camp in park

Christians protesting — File Photo
Christians protesting — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Residents of G-9/4 Wednesday occupied a wooded area to prevent the return of a group of Christians intent upon settling there.

Tension has been persisting between the two sides since Tuesday when the locals and the police foiled the group’s first attempt to settle there. The 100 odd Christians have set camp in a nearby park after being driven out of the wooded area.

A police contingent is deployed in the contested area and local volunteers are standing watch on the campers in the Neelum Road park to block any move to raise a settlement there.

On the other hand, the Christian campers claim they are waiting for permission from the authorities to settle there.

The Christian community was reluctant to talk with the media, while claiming that their lives would be in danger, after their names were published in the media.

Only one man, talking on condition of anonymity, said: “We are afraid and do not return back to our homes at Merhria Jaffar.”

He added: “Our people locked their homes and left Merhria Jaffar. Besides, the church setup on a Rs7,000 per month rent is secure.”

They said that efforts were in progress to get permission from the authority for the settlement and the Christian families are camping in the park.

On the other hand dozens of local residents of G-9/4 started watching the wooded area in which some area was chopped off by the Christian families.

President Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Islamabad Chapter Babar Minhas told Dawn that the matter was in the knowledge of the police, city administration and Capital Development Authority, which were asked to intervene in the matter.

Mr Minhas said that he met with chairman CDA, who assured him that a fence would be installed around the wooded area along with fresh plantation at the place of chopped trees and bushes on Thursday (today).

He said that there was no settlement in the wooded area and that no-one would construct new one without any permission from the authorities concerned.

The Margalla police said that a contingent of the police was deployed in the wooded area to avoid any confrontation between the local and the Christian Community.

Besides, avoid any further move from the Christian community to occupy the land for the settlement.

Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minster Rehman Malik here on Wednesday said that the Christian girl allegedly involved in blasphemy was in safe custody and would not be subjected to injustice.

Talking to media after National Peace Conference, the minister said that the girl was safe and would remain safe.

The responsibility lies with the government to provide security to her, Mr Malik replied to another question.

The judiciary is independent and police would investigate the issue on merit, the minister said, adding, that the girl would not be subjected to injustice.

He reminded the international community that “Pakistan is a sovereign country; allow us to proceed in accordance of the law.”

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Comments (7) Closed

Cyrus Howell
Aug 31, 2012 01:37am
That is the one million rupee question.
mehdi habib
Aug 31, 2012 01:35am
Religion is not an issue of cosideration in the west when deciding asylum and refugee status. For our religiously indoctrinated minds, it would be an exercise in futulity to understand these secular guiding concepts.
Aug 30, 2012 09:09am
Why the West does not give asylum to Christians of Pakistan, to Ahmadis they give it so fast, especially UK, Germany and Canada have taken 1000s of Ahmadis. Then why so much discrimination to the people of their own religion???
Aug 31, 2012 03:45am
When the Muslims of the country being in a Muslim Country are not save how will govt. be able to make the situation sound for minorities? We not only as Muslims but as a Pakistani Nation are facing the worst ever crises currently but the matter of fact is "We are living these Moments"
Aug 30, 2012 08:57am
Its Govt. responsibility to save the life of every citizen by keeping the law and order in the country but it seems to be that they are failed in every aspect to give the protection to minorities as they are only interested in their politics...
Aug 30, 2012 08:09am
Responsibility to provide safety lies with the government. Then why can't these residents return safely to their homes in Jaffar? Because a promise of safety from an incompetent government is an empty promise.
Aug 30, 2012 12:44pm
I have a small observation regarding the picture.. Has winter already started in Islamabad coz i think its quite hot in Islamabad and people in the picture are wearing sweaters and warm caps :P