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Pakistan army asks Christians to vacate their homes in its camp
ICC Note:
Orders were given to the Christian community living in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency to immediately vacate the area without prior notice or alternative accommodation, NDTV reports. Arshad Masih, chairman of the Christian community in Khyber Agency, said that security personnel came at them with “sticks and batons”. It is common in Pakistan for squatters to be forced off government and private owned land. ICC has not yet verified whether this case is a direct result of persecution targeting Christians in Khyber.
10/15/2012 Pakistan (NDTV)- Leaders of the minority Christian community in the restive Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan have alleged that some 30 families were directed to leave their homes inside an army camp where they have lived for decades.
The Christian leaders claimed the families were not given any notice before a commandant of the Khyber Rifles ordered the families to vacate their homes immediately, according to media reports on Monday.
The orders were verbally conveyed to the Christian families when they were assembling in a church, also located within the army camp, for Sunday service.
“Khyber Rifles personnel, wielding sticks and batons, ordered us to vacate our houses immediately,” Arshad Masih, chairman of the Christian community in Khyber Agency, told reporters.
Only Christians who are government employees were allowed to stay in their homes while the rest were directed to leave the army camp, he said. The Christians complained that they had been unable to arrange alternative accommodation.
Wilson Wazir, another leading member of the Christian community, said all males of the families were asked to leave immediately while women and children had taken shelter in hotels in Khyber Agency and Peshawar.
Mr Masih said the Christians had been living in the area since 1914, when they were brought there by the British. He said land was also given to the British by the Khugakhel tribe for 100 years to accommodate the Christians.
The Frontier Corps said this lease is now over and the Christians would have to vacate the land, said Mr Masih. Officials of the political administration said they could do nothing as the area fell under the jurisdiction of the security forces, he added.
Mr Masih rubbished speculation that the Christians were being moved due to possible threats from local tribesmen.

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