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LAHORE: Twenty-four Christian families have urged the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to help them get three-marla plots which were allotted to them in 1992 against their houses demolished without any notice.

They say they were not given plots as compensation despite four orders of the Lahore High Court from time to time.

In a petition addressed to the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan, their representative Dr Yaqoob Bhatti said the 24 affected families were the old residents of Christian Colony, Bhekeywal, Nizam Block and Link Wahdat Road. “Certain elements made the LDA demolish their houses and a church without any notice in 1992. The families were manhandled for putting up resistance,” he said.

He said Christians from Lahore and outstations lodged strong protests in front of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in GOR-I and the then MPAs, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid and Adil Sharif (minorities), conveyed the injustice to chief minister Mian Manzoor Wattoo. He summoned the LDA director general and reprimanded him. On his orders, the LDA director general allotted alternative three-marla plots to the 24 families in Khyber Block, Nadeem Shaheed Road and Allama Iqbal Town as a compensation.

He said the families paid the price of these plots to the LDA on Jan 24, 1998 but the LDA did not hand over possession of the plots to them. The families approached the LHC four times and the court ordered the LDA to give them the land on every occasion but to no avail.

He said the Christian families and their community had time and again appealed to former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to grant them their legal right but he turned a deaf ear to their appeals.

Dr Yaqoob said the families did posses all the documents regarding the allotment, receipts of the fees they deposited, orders of Mr Wattoo and the court rulings, appealing to the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to help them get their due right being denied to them for the past 26 years.

“The Constitution grants us equal rights which are being denied to us,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2018