Pakistani Politician Trying to Steal Christian’s House
01/22/09 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – A high profile state politician is attempting to take advantage of his impoverished Christian neighbor in Pakistan. Knowing that the courts rarely protect the rights of Christians, the Deputy Speaker of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is trying to illegally evict a Christian family from their house so that he can use it for his security guards.
A social worker from Peshawar told ICC that Slamat Masih has been living in this house in Officers Colony, Gunner line in the Cantonment area of Peshawar since 1969. The Cantonment Administration allotted the house to Masih’s father, so when Khushdil Khan, the Deputy Speaker of NWFP, sent a group of men to ask Masih to vacate the house, Masih refused.
Masih told them that since he had been living in the house for so long and no officials had ever objected, he would not vacate the house.
The Deputy Speaker then started threatening Masih and his family, but the family refused to cave in to the threats by saying that they are poor people and do not have any other house to live in.
On January 14, Deputy Speaker Khan sent another group of men to put more pressure on Masih. These men entered the house without permission, threw the family’s belongings into the street and physically harassed everyone present. They demolished the outer wall around the house and left, threatening the family if they did not vacate soon.
Masih went to the police to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Khan, but the police refused to register the FIR against a high profile politician because the complainant was a poor Christian. An FIR is a legal document in many countries of South Asia that police fill out when someone brings a criminal accusation against another person. It puts a legal obligation on police to follow up on the case and bring it to the court.
With the help of an NGO, Masih returned to the police and requested again that they receive his application against the Deputy Speaker just so that it could have a written record. This time the police accepted his application but have still taken no action against Khan.
Masih’s family is still in the house but is afraid that they will be forcibly evicted because the police will not pursue the case.
Samuel Wallace, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, said, “Masih and his family have two strikes against them as they seek justice in Pakistan: they are Christians, and they are poor. Justice should be blind, but in Pakistan the police will only defend Muslims and those rich enough to pay their bribes.”
Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your country and ask them to take action against Deputy Speaker Khushdil Khan and other corrupt politicians like him.