SAHIWAL: Christians of 135/9-L, 190/9-L and 134/9-L villages demand that their cemetery in village 135/9-L, which remained intact from 1955 to 1982 on seven kanals and eight marlas, be restored.
Currently, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has leased the land to a brick kiln owner for three years.
The revenue record shows the graveyard land was owned by the provincial government till 1982. The land deed number is 358 in form No 5/25/1.
Village patwari Zakir Husain confirmed the facts.
The three villages located on Arifwala-Sahiwal Road are home to 6,000 Christians, according to Wilsan Raza, Minority Property Protection Foundation president.
Elders Jan Charagh, Imran Javed and pastor Asif Raza, residents of the village confirmed the presence of graves at the land which gradually disappeared after the land was leased. They showed a death certificate of Ranjha, a resident of Murghi Ahata and buried in this graveyard on June 13, 1960.
In 1982, the ETPB got control of the graveyard land and leased it in 2006 for three years, renewable, at Rs7,500 per annum.
Wilson alleged the ETPB could not lease provincial government’s land meant for a graveyard.
Saleem, lessee of the land, told Dawn he had given the land to a third party on contract.
An official at the local ETPB office said the Christians should take up the matter with ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq.
Wilson wrote to Mr Farooq demanding the return of land but to no avail. Despite several attempts, Mr Farooq could not be contacted on phone.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2015