A group Christians has invoked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take efficacious steps to prevent illegal and unauthorized sale and depreciation of properties belonging to churches. This group sharply criticized the Dioceses of Peshawar to have been involved in selling churches’ properties at offhanded prices. KPK leadership was urged to look into the commercialization of places meant to be worship places of religious minorities.
KPK President of Church Property Bachao Tehreek, Pastor Jimmy Mathew who spoke up on behalf of the protesting group stated that property of churches in Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu districts is being precariously being commercialized, hurting the sentiments of the local Christians. He beseeched the government to do away with the plazas and market areas constructed on churches’ properties.
During a press conference held at the Peshawar Press Club on August 9, Pastor Jimmy Mathew condemned the Diocese of Peshawar saying that the property did not belong to it, but instead the Church Missionary Society, Church Missionary Trust Association, Lahore Dioceses Trust Association, Pakistan Lutheran Church and Pakistani Lutheran Church Trust Association are the rightful owners of the land.
He said that the any individual associated with Peshawar Dioceses, had no right or authority to sell out properties belonging to mission. He added that besides churches, properties of mission meant to serve as hospitals, schools, graveyards etc. have also been eyed by the church property mafia. He highlighted that Peshawar High Court had already prohibited the KPK government to issue NoCs to any organization or individual regarding properties of non-Muslims.
He highlighted the fact that since Peshawar Dioceses had already distanced itself from Church of Pakistan back in 1970, therefore it has no right whatsoever, to interfere in the properties of the Christian community. He urged the KPK government to take action against the scourge or else Christians would be left with no other option but to stage protestations seeking protection of mission’s properties.