ISLAMABAD, July 3: City police Tuesday avoided a property dispute turning into a religious dispute by deciding to inquire before registering kidnapping charges against the head of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sector F-8/4.
“It is confusing why (complainant) Javed Iqbal kept silent about the kidnapping of his wife, her two sisters and a brother, for 11 years,” Inspector General of Police Bani Amin Khan said after he had persuaded the flock of Father Rehmat Hakim Michael not to agitate the issue.
It was strange that when Dawn called him for the details of his complaint, Iqbal could not recall the name of his wife he claims was kidnapped by Father Michael in 2001 and came up with the name of Farishta Bibi “after looking into” his documents.
Apparently, his request for registration of an FIR against the priest grew from a dispute the church had with one Mushtaq Ahmed who has been occupying two houses owned by the church in Sector G-8/2 for 18 years and refusing to vacate them.
Mushtaq claims he had bought the two houses from Bishop Simon and Father Jan Taylor of the church for US$30,000. But his claim was rejected both by civil court and high court.
According to Father Michael, in 1991, Father Jan Taylor, the then head of the church, had allowed sick and jobless Mushtaq Ahmed to live in one of the houses and rent out the other for his upkeep.
Different managements of the church had been trying to get the houses vacated but he always resisted, claiming he had paid $30,000 and owns them.
“When former Irish priest Jan Namin tried same, Mushtaq Ahmed took his claim to a civil court which rejected it, as was his appeal against the rejection on 28th May 2012,” said Father Michael.
“After realising that he cannot retain houses through courts, Mushtaq used Javed Iqbal and filed an application that I had kidnapped his wife Farishta Bibi and her two sisters and one brother in 2001 after failing to convert them to Christianity,” he said.
“In 2001 I was in Gujrat and came to Islamabad in 2007. How could I be involved in a kidnapping which took place in 2001? Mushtaq Ahmed should be asked that from where he earned the US$ 30,000. Moreover priests cannot sell church’s property,” he added.
Father Jan Williams, who is a member of National Commission for Justice and Peace, told Dawn that as a former head of the Lady Fatima Church he knew the church owned the two houses. Mushtaq and Javed Iqbal were trying to drag Father Michael into a false case of kidnapping.
Basharat Masih, resident of G-8/2, believed Mushtaq and Javed had conspired to expropriate church property through defaming the Christian community.
Zabar Sarhadi, resident of same street in which both houses are located, confirmed that Mushtaq Ahmed had been living in the house for almost 20 years but said he had heard the houses were property of the Lady Fatima Church.
Mushtaq used to rent one house to Afghans because they did not demand to see ownership documents and vacated the house without any fuss.
“I have my doubts that she might have been murdered,” Javed Iqbal told Dawn, claiming that he had tried to register FIR about the alleged kidnapping of his wife earlier too but former IGP Kaleem Imam did not allow that.
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