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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

800 Christians evicted,homes razed

Above : Christians house contents after forced eviction
Below : Child plays by rubble of demolished homes
Last month in Lahore, 800 poor Christians were evicted from their homes with less than a days notice, some not even being able to clear all the belongings out before the bulldozers came in. The slum (150 houses) was demolished to create an alternative road to a nearby fruit and vegetable market. The community had lived in that location since 1998, when they moved in after being evicted from another slum to make way for a housing association. These actions were a direct violation of Pakistani law, because it requires alternative accommodation to be found for communities of this size and age.
The Christians staged a protest to protect their church, but all their houses were bulldozed. They were left traumatised and in tears, with most expecting to sleep outside for a long period as they just cannot afford the rents. What little belongings they have are vulnerable to destruction if it rains. One little girl declared that they were Pakistani, but 'if they don't want us here, they should throw us out of the country, reflecting the despair and rejection felt by the whole community.
Authorities meant to meet with the community the day before were suddenly unavailable and out of town, and the police claimed that the residents had been told of the evictions several weeks before, but the residents denied this, saying that the first they heard was the day before the evictions.
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