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Armed Muslim men occupy Christian man’s house

By Sheraz Khurram Khan

7/14/07 Pakistan (ANS) — At least 30 Muslim men armed with weapons forcibly entered a Christian man’s house on July 9 at 5:00 PM and occupied the plot after demolishing a room. The house was built in Fatima Jinnah colony, some 5 Kilometers from Sargodha city in the precincts of the Jhal Chakian Police Station.

Safdar Masih’s son, Saleem Masih, had purchased the land some six years ago. Talking to ANS, Safdar said the government owned that land. He said he purchased the land through a middleman.

The trouble began when Saleem Masih constructed four walls of the house as well as a room. The assailants abused Safdar Masih’s wife and tore her clothes. They threw Masih’s household items in the street.

“Some three to four groups of people approached me. They pressured my son to sell his house but he refused to sell it since he needed it himself”, said Safdar Masih.

Masih’s son, Sarfraz alleged that even the Deputy Nazim (vice head of Local government bodies), Zahid, also sided with Muslims. Sarfraz and his father both alleged that even the Nazim was present when the armed Muslim men had forced their way into Saleem Masih’s house.

Talking to ANS Zahid said Tahir Chakoor, a Muslim man, showed him evidence that he had purchased the land where Masih constructed a room in 1992. “He maintained that while the Muslim man had ‘evidence’ showing him owner of the plot he had none.

Sarfraz Masih insisted that Tahir was in possession of fake documents. Masih’s son Sarfraz said that the legal papers were old while they had put fake stamps on the document. The legal paper is old but the ink used for writing is new and it reveals fabrication, he alleged.

“They have bribed the police. They don’t listen to us. They pre-empt our efforts aimed at getting the grabbed piece of land back”, said Sarfraz Masih.

“We even filed application with the police but they don’t listen to us. They have been putting us off that we would visit but that has not realized yet.”

He went on to say that their family did not want to surrender claim to the piece of land where they had erected a room. “We had expressed agreement on a compromise under pressure of influential Muslim men”, Sarfraz confided in ANS.

Speaking to ANS, Tahir Chakoor, the Muslim man who robbed Saleem of his house said he was ready to pay RS 5600 (US$ 933.33) to Masih which he said covered the expenses incurred by Masih on purchasing the land and construction of the room and four walls of the house by Masih.

Safdar Masih, his son, Sarfraz Masih and spouse Surriya while speaking to ANS said that they did not want money back.

“We want our plot back. We want it back badly,” they said.

It merits mentioning here that Rays of Development (ROD) activists including Zimran Elias, Nadeem Samuel, Jawad Mazher and Chairman ROD Ferhan Mazher also accompanied this correspondent.

When a ROD activist asked Sarfraz as to how he would prove in the court that his brother has the right to the piece of land, he said the man from whom his brother, Saleem had purchased the land is still alive. “He would appear in the court to make his statement in this regard”, he said.

The forged documents themselves speak that we are the true owners of the plot, he added.

Talking to ANS a relative of Safdar Masih, Matloob Masih said he was at his home when the armed Muslim men forced Saleem Masih’s mother, Surriyia to evacuate the house.

“When I arrived at the scene of incident the armed Muslim men slapped in my face and intimidated me. They aimed their weapons at me and threatened me with dire consequences if I put up resistance”, he said.