Christians protest against construction of a sewerage pumping station on the property of Lahore Cathedral

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Churches in Lahore

Lahore’ Christians stage a protest against construction of a sewerage pumping station on the land alongside Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, commonly known as Lahore Cathedral. Every Sunday, Lahore’ Christian community holds a peaceful protest outside the Lahore Cathedral.

Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has plans to build a sewerage pumping station on the land beside the Cathedral Church. This plan has caused indignation among the city’ Christians. The church authorities, on the other hand are not willing to hand over the land to LDA at any cost.

Christians are irked as they protest in an effort to save the sanctity of the Cathedral. The church authorities have moved the Lahore High Court, seeking halt in construction of the sewerage pumping station. Consequently, the Lahore High Court ordered LDA to cease from acquiring of the land or demolishing any property of the Cathedral. Seeing a hike in resistance from the Christians, the project director of LDA wrote a letter to Bishop of Lahore Reverend Irfan Jamil, in this regard.

This letter which was dated March 11, 2016 sought permission from Bishop of Lahore Rt Rev Irfan Jamil, Cathedral, for acquirement of Cathedral School ground alongside the church located on the McLeod Road, in order to build a sewerage pumping station for the Orange Line Metro Train Project.

LDA’ project director’ letter read: “some part of the open area of the Cathedral school situated at Macleod Road has to be acquired for the pumping station of underground stretch of OMT”. The project director further requested the Cathedral church’ authorities to permit them to go on with the construction work in ‘best public interest.’

Furthermore, the LDA requested the Cathedral church authorities to relinquish three-kanal land for the Orange Line Metro Train project. Further, the boundary wall of length about 40 meters will also be required to be demolished during construction work. However, the Cathedral church authorities replied that the asked land does not belong to the Cathedral School but to the Cathedral Church. The church authorities further clarified that the property is managed by a registered body Church of Pakistan Lahore Diocesan Council (COPLDC).

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Later on March 22, the Cathedral church administration wrote a detailed reply to the Punjab government stating: “Owing to age, structure and architecture the Cathedral Church ranks among historical churches of Sub-continent. The whole building and premises of the church were not only structure of bricks but icon of love, tranquility and a cradle of peace.”

Further the Cathedral church administration clarified that the land in question was not an abandoned property but is in use for church related activities and community functions and religious gatherings. The land was is additionally in use by the school children, for playing games. “The church regretfully represses its reluctance to part with its land required for this project and request that space for the proposed pumping station should be looked for at some other appropriate place,” the church authorities said.

In this regard, while talking with the media, Reverend Shahid Mehraj- Dean Lahore Cathedral and District Superintendent of Lahore said that the land of the Cathedral is sacred to the Christians. “The church congregation is very much disturbed to hear the news about building a pumping station here. Christian community strongly condemns this move for making sewerage pumping station where all the waste of neighboring areas would be stationed.”

“We have decided not to stage protest on roads. We do it peacefully inside the church compound. We believe the Almighty has strange way of doing things and this issue would soon be resolved,” Reverend Shahid Mehraj said.