Islamabad, Oct. 15: The Christian community residing in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency has alleged that its members have been ordered to leave the area – without a prior notice, or any alternative accommodation.
Members of the community said they have been ordered to leave the area on Sunday while they were offering their weekly prayers, reports The Express Tribune.
Arshad Masih, chairman of the Christian community of Khyber Agency, said it was the British who had brought their forefathers to the area in 1914 and the following generations have been living there ever since. According to Masih, the land was given to the British by the Khugakhel tribe for a hundred-year period.
The Frontier Corps (FC), however, said the lease is over and the people must vacate the land, Masih added.
He claimed that all requests to reverse the decision fell on deaf ears with political administrators including senior officials saying the area fell under the jurisdiction of the FC.
Wilson Wazir, another prominent member the community, said the FC had asked the males of their families to leave immediately, while the women and children were asked to take shelter with relatives or hotels around Peshawar and Khyber Agency.
“I am here at a hotel in Landi Kotal and my family is not with me,” said Wazir, adding that the community will approach minority ministers Paul Bhatti and Akram Masih Gill to take up the issue.
Wazir added they could not purchase land as most property in the area is disputed.
Meanwhile, members of the Christian community staged demonstrations to protest against the move.
Earlier in August, hundreds of Christians were forced to flee their homes after a Muslim cleric falsely accused a 14-year-old disabled girl belonging to the Christian community of committing blasphemy by burning pages inscribed with verses form the Holy Quran. (ANI)