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Swat’s Christians air their grievance as they have no church and graveyard

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Christians of Swat talking to group of journalists have expressed grief and disappointment over the fact that they had no church. What is more, they do not have a graveyard where they can bury their dead. At the same time, demanding that the government must provide them with churches and graveyard that they do not have to face the quandary while burying their dead and other religious rites.

Christians in Northern areas in Pakistan

Recently a meeting was organized by Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights (JDHR) where representatives of Christian, Sikh and Hindu communities nestled in Swat met with the journalists and discussed their problems. Talking to the journalists, Father Samuel Gill told them that there was not a single church for the Christian community.

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“Over 70 Christian families live here but they do not have church. I have personally talked to several officials and elected representatives in this regard but nobody paid heed,” said Father Samuel Gill. He said that adding to the quandary of the local Christians, is the strenuous task of transporting the dead bodies to other cities to be buried.

Father Samuel Gill who lives in Mingora said that there was no graveyard for the Christians in Swat. For this reason local Christians have to transport their dead bodies for their loved ones to Peshawar or Rawalpindi and other cities for the burial. He demanded that the government must pay heed to their cries and make sure that a piece of land is allocated to the Christian community that can be used as a cemetery.

Christians use hired rooms as churches. In past years, a big hall in Excelsior College was allocated for Christian community where they established a church. This hall and a school was bombed by Taliban. In Mingora government had allotted a graveyard at Gumbat Meira to the local Christian community but the local Christians do not use it for burial as it is adjacent to a runnel.

Swat Valley is renowned for mesmerizing natural beauty; it is an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. In 2007 the area was captured by terror group Taliban which was later recaptured by Pakistan in 2009.