The selective application of the laws described in this article is all too typical of the treatment of Christians in Pakistan. The nation is home to over two million Christians, and none of them is exempt from the daily risk of persecution and harassment. A small number of these Christians are Orthodox. Orthodox Christians in Pakistan are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, which comprises all the Orthodox Communities, Parishes, Foundations and Philanthropic Projects in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as Pakistan.
Please pray that our beloved brothers and sisters of these often forgotten communities and all the Christians of Pakistan would be granted the light of religious freedom and relief from those who blaspheme the name of God with anger, violence, and hatred.
For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.
“Hundreds of Christian families face eviction from their homes in Pakistan,” by Inés San Martín, Crux News, March 18, 2021:
ROME – Over the past week, the houses of 450 Catholic families were destroyed in Pakistan, and those of 1,000 Christians will be bulldozed by government officials in upcoming days.
The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the homes are on state-owned lands, and their presence makes the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi more flood-prone, since they block the path of rainwater to the sea.
The houses were first built 40 years ago and are legally connected to the public electricity, gas and water grids.
“This is a civic crisis side by side a human tragedy, and municipal authorities are responding to the civic crisis, but not to the human one,” said Australian Father Robert McCulloch, the Rome-based Procurator General of the Missionary Society of St. Columban. He lived in Pakistan from 1978 to 2011.
He told Crux on Tuesday that there has been a perennial encroachment problem in Pakistan, with people occupying government-owned land. This, he argued, has been a reality for the past 30 or 40 years, when people from the Punjab region moved towards the cities after the mechanization of agriculture led to a loss of jobs.
When people first began to arrive, Christians – mostly Catholics – began settling in fringes around the city, they settled in temporary shacks that eventually become permanent homes.
“There is no doubt that the land they’re on is encroached,” McCulloch said. “But they have long been connected to the water and gas grids, which gave a sense of stability to the people living there. The fact that they were all paying taxes to representatives of the municipal council in their areas, either over or under the table, made them believe they had some sort of legal claim over the land.”
He said the community saw government officials provide them with public services, and no one told them they were illegally inhabiting the land….
“Some 450 Christian families in a particular area that I know, lost their homes in the past 6 days,” the priest said. “And when they complained to the police and officials who were there to oversee the destruction, they were told that they were encroaching.”
McCulloch noted that no one has thus far told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan that he too has built his mansion on encroached public land in Islamabad: “Encroachment is happening all over the country, but those who suffer are the ones who have no money” to pay off public officials.
The priest also said that in the coming week, there will be another 1,000 Christian families who will lose their homes, as the bulldozers and tractors continue to bring down the homes….
The situation is made worse by the fact that Christians in the Muslim-majority country are often treated as second-class citizens, meaning the government is not likely to do much to help those affected….