Vast property of Saint Mark’s Church in Syed Nagar village neighboring, Alipur Chatha in Gujranwala District, Punjab province has been expropriated. The original land of the church was about one kanal, which shrank to only 3-4 marlas as a result of blatant land seizure by a local landlord. The landlord is believed to be influential and in close association with political leaders.
A local landlord namely Rana Zulfiqar is allegedly involved in seizure of church’s property. Administration of Saint Mark’s church approached the Lahore High Court and filed presented their case in front of Justice Mamoon Rashid. LHC ruled in favor of church’s administration and directed immediate withdrawal to Rana Zulfiqar.
Subsequently, Justice Mamoon Rashid of Lahore High Court issued a stay order in favor of Saint Mark’s Church. The stay order which bore reference no 2745-10 IN 17454-10 was unashamedly ignored by the land grabbers. Despite court had directed Rana Zulfiqar and his nephew Rana Asim to withdraw from church’s property, the landlords are reluctant to back off. Moreover, they had built a fence around the expropriated land of the church in order to detach it from the church.
St. Mark Church is run under the administration of Catholic Church of Pakistan, and the church authorities have approached several authorities seeking help. They claim that owing to the fact that the landlords are influential and in alliance with political leadership, recovery of the land is almost impossible.