Father of Christian MPA accused of illegally grabbing graveyard land in Youhanabad

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Raja Nathaniel Gill, father of a Christian member of Punjab Assembly accused of illegally grabbing the land of a Christian graveyard in Lahore’ Youhanabad. Nathaniel Gill, has allegedly desecrated graves in the graveyard, and took possession of the land. Residents of Youhanabad allege that he has been involved in such activities previously as well.

Youhanabad, Lahore

Raja Nathaniel Gill, who is father of Christian lawmaker MPA-Marry Gill claims that graveyard land is property of the state and the local Christians do not have any ownership over the land. On the other hand, lad grabbing has irked majority of Christians of Youhanabad, as they claim Nathaniel has been attempting to grab the land of the Christian graveyard. He is an ex-vice chairman of Minorities Advisory Council of the Punjab government. Marry Gill, who is a leader of ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)

After learning about the activities of Raja Nathaniel Gill, Christian residents of Youhanabad have staged several protests against the illegal land grabbing. These Christians claim that Raja Nathaniel is directly involved in snatching graveyard land. “About six months ago, Raja Nathaniel Gill, the father of PML-N MPA Mary Gill, bought a house adjacent to the graveyard in Youhanabad and started expanding it towards the graveyard,” Zeeshan Mall- a Christian resident of Youhanabad said.

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The controversial land is a part of a Christian graveyard, located at the back of the Raja Nathaniel’s house. Local Christians further claim that Raja Nathaniel has even desecrated four graves flattening them, so that he can use the land for expansion of his house. Left over of the construction material is still lying I the graveyard. “Gill has constructed a set of steps on the land of the graveyard after opening a new back door,” Zeeshan Mall added.

While speaking in this regard, another Christian resident of Youhanabad- Lala Saleem Khokhar said Raja Nathaniel has also demolished a public toilet and a hand pump which was installed in the graveyard. He further claims that the public toilet and the hand pump were demolished to construct garage of Raja Nathaniel’ house. “All this is being done with the patronage of his daughter Mary Gill and the support of the ruling PML-N,” he alleged.

“Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was elected MPA from this constituency (PP-159) in 2013. But he has never set foot in this neighborhood which is why the area is often targeted by land grabbers,” Lala Saleem added. He went on to accuse that previously, Raja Nathaniel has been found involved in several other cases of land grabbing in Raiwind. Followed by land grabbing in Raiwand, Raja Nathaniel has now blatantly, set his eyes on the land of the graveyard, “since his daughter is an MPA of the ruling party.”