05/18/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to reports on social media, a century-old Christian graveyard has been desecrated in Pakistan’s Punjab province. In response, Christians have reportedly taken up the matter with local authorities.
On May 5, a group of Muslims led by Zafar Iqbal Nunari, a local landlord, forcibly occupied a Christian graveyard in Chak No. 174/10-R, located in the Khanewal district of Punjab. Reports claim over 3,000 Christians reside in Chak No. 174/10-R and that the village was originally set up by the British over 100 years ago.
On the day of the incident, Nunari and his followers, including Akram Ghulam Haider, Iqbal Ghulam Qadir, Ilyas Iqbal, and Liyqat Rabnawaz, forcefully entered the Christian graveyard with a tractor and plowed up the graves. Members of the Christian community tried to stop the desecration, but were driven off after Nunari and his followers brandished guns and threatened the Christians with “dire consequences”.
The Christians have protested the destruction of the grave, all of which had crosses fixed on top. Akhtar Khursheed, a former member of the district council, brought the matter to local authorities and has asked for action to be taken against this “injustice”.
Christian properties are often targeted by criminals and “land grabbers” because widespread discrimination makes Christian communities easy targets. Economic disparities and religious bias that exists even within Pakistan’s judicial system make it very difficult for Christians to recover properties that are lost.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.