An Australian Columban missionary says the bulldozing of houses lived in by Christians in Pakistan is a "civic crisis side by side a human tragedy". Source: Crux.
Over the past week, the houses of 450 Catholic families were destroyed, with those of 1,000 Christians due to be bulldozed by government officials in upcoming days.
The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the homes are on state-owned lands, and their presence makes the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi more flood-prone, since they block the path of rainwater to the sea.
The houses were first built 40 years ago and are legally connected to the public electricity, gas and water grids.
“This is a civic crisis side by side a human tragedy, and municipal authorities are responding to the civic crisis, but not to the human one,” said Fr Robert McCulloch, the Rome-based Procurator General of the Missionary Society of St Columban. He lived in Pakistan from 1978 to 2011.
He said there has been a perennial encroachment problem in Pakistan, with people occupying government-owned land.
“There is no doubt that the land they’re on is encroached,” Fr McCulloch said. “But they have long been connected to the water and gas grids, which gave the people living there a sense of stability. The fact that they were all paying taxes to representatives of the municipal council in their areas, either over or under the table, made them believe they had some sort of legal claim over the land.”
Hundreds of Christian families face eviction from their homes in Pakistan (By Ines San Martin, Crux)