Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 13, 2012 / 00:54 am
The Punjab provincial government’s unannounced bulldozing of a Church-owned site that destroyed a church, a school for poor girls, and homes for the poor, elderly and homeless was “a criminal act of land-grabbing,” the local Catholic bishop says.
The families living on the two-acre site in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu district were awoken at 6:30 a.m. On Jan. 10 and told to evacuate their homes. The bulldozers destroyed at least seven houses, which still had the occupants’ belongings inside.
“How can they do such a thing, just to come in, wreck a charitable institution and ruin the lives of people living there? They do not listen to anybody.” Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore told Aid to the Church in Need.
He said the Church had proof of ownership of the site dating back to 1887. The incident has caused fears of further property seizures by the province’s government, which is controlled by the Muslim League “N.”