Pakistan: CDA demolishes church in Islamabad during Lent
On Wednesday 31 March, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) demolished Emmanuel Gospel church in Musharraf colony, sector G8/4 Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The settlement consists of about 300-400 houses and all families are Christian and poor.
The Pastor in charge, Rev Naveed John George said that at about 8:45 (Pakistani time) a CDA team with the police arrived at the church and immediately started destroying it. When asked why they were doing this, instead of explaining, the CDA and police started shouting and insulting the pastor.
Pastor George said they have worshiped there for the last 12 years, and the land for the church was donated by his older brother Kamran George. The building was old, and the structure was not very strong, which is why the roof of the church had been leaking for a while. The church committee had decided to change the roof and had raised funds for this purpose. It had already notified the CDA in writing that they were going to change the roof. But instead of replying, on the morning of March 31, they tore down the church.
Pastor George said this was illegal, and they were not given any prior notice or any other information about the action. He added that they had still not been told why the church had been demolished. He added that this is a holy month for Christians and now they have no place for Easter worship.
The pastor said the congregation is very upset because the CDA has not just demolished the church but hurt their religious feelings too. He added that it was very sad that they were not even given time to remove the holy cross from the church building, or holy Bibles and other commodities they consider holy. Such desecration of the Holy Bible and the Cross is not acceptable. Pastor George said the CDA has not just hurt their religious feelings but they have been reminded that being Christians they have no respect and no rights in Pakistan. He said they had tried to raise their concerns to get the attention of high authorities, but it all seems to have been in vain and they are now considering legal action against the CDA for desecrating the church, holy Bible and hurting their religious feelings.
He added that with 300-400 houses and three other churches in the vicinity, it is beyond his understanding why this church has been targeted.