Puran Pura’s Christians resolve their church issue with CLAAS’ support
Tensions have been growing in the village of Puran Pura, Komokey District Gujranwala, Punjab, after a conflict between the local Christians and Muslims of the village over the issue of church property.
A Muslim Dogar family belongs to political party Tehreek-e-Insaf and during the election campaign in 2013 they wanted support from the Christian community.
To get votes from the Christians the political leadership of (PTI) donated a small piece of land to the Christians for their worship and inaugurated the foundation of a church building.
The poor Christians made a boundary wall but could not build a proper church building due to insufficient funds for the construction.
The Christians started worshiping and offering prayers in the incomplete building. The church was handed over to the Assembly of God ministry but the ministry was also not able to complete the church building.
Every Sunday a Pastor who was appointed by the ministry visited for prayers. Mr. Shamshad was appointed as church elder and he is still involved in church activities.
In August 2017 the same Muslim Dogar family built a farm house for their animals in front of the church and blocked the church path.
At that time no Christian objected or stopped them. Later on elder Shamshad raised his voice against the Muslim and all Muslims gathered and tried to stop their prayers. The church was not registered and so the police did not take any legal action against the Muslims. The local Christians protested and moved a writ petition against the Muslim villagers.
After that Muslims of the village jointly planned that if any Christian tried to raise this issue then all the Christians would be cast out from the village. The concerned DSP visited Puran Pura and had a meeting with both parties. He tried to resolve the matter and assured that he would provide a separate church path to the Christians. For this he will soon call another meeting, but after the involvement of the police and CLAAS, Christians now feel safer. CLAAS is in touch with local Christians and has offered them full support.
CLAAS was informed of the situation Mr. Shamshad , and asked to take effective action in order to thwart any possible sectarian clashes, to provide protection to the local Christian community and ensure their properties are not harmed.
There are only 20 Christian families living in the village, among 400 to 500 Muslims families. The Christians do not own properties in the village but have been living there from the beginning of Pakistan. As the Christians are poor and have no proper jobs, the men of the village are working privately in factories and elsewhere, whereas the women are working as housemaids for the Muslims.
The Christian children are studying in the local government school while some parents can afford private educational institutes. After the conflict Christian females stopped working in the Muslim houses as Christians were scared for their lives. The Christian community protested against the Muslims and also moved a writ petition in the court for justice. The concerned DSP visited the conflicted area and assured that he will get justice to the local Christians.