Mardan’s Christians staged a protest against occupation of land meant for construction of church building. On Thursday, March 22, Christians gathered outside the Mardan Press Club and demanded that the land be freed from illegal occupation. They urged the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court to take notice of the land grabbing.
The protesters said that five kanal of land was purchased for the purpose of construction of church building; however, it has been occupied. Local Christian and member of District Council Amanat Masih, another local Christian and member of Tehsil Council Niamat Masih led other Christians as they protested.
Explaining the history of the land, they said that in 1993 a Christian namely Andrew Charles had purchased five kanal of land near Mardan Sugarmills. Andrew who came from London purchased this land from Gul Nabi, and dedicated the land for construction of a church. They said that local Christians had urged Andrew to buy land for construction of a church for this purpose he had purchased the land.
The protesters further detailed that despite the fact that Andrew paid 0.5 million Rupees to Gul Nabi, who handed over the land to the Christian community but did not transfer the land in the name of the church in the Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department’s documentation at that time.
Later on, when the Christian elders demanded him to register the transfer of the land with the Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department, Gul Nabi refused to do so. For this reason, the local Christians are urging the Justice Yahya Afridi, Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court to take notice of the fraud, and take action against the perpetrator administering justice to the Christian community of the Mardan District.