Christians in Lahore, Pakistan protested the construction of a metro system that they say will damage at least four churches around the city. According to some Christians, the construction of the metro system disproportionately affects the poor and minority communities in Lahore. The Lahore High Court has ordered construction of the metro system to stop, but the Lahore Development Agency has ignored the court’s order. Also, the U.N. has publicly called on Pakistan to stop the construction of the metro system before the construction damages historic and cultural sites.
2/3/2016 Pakistan (UCAN) – Church groups have joined opposition to the building of a train network in Lahore, which they said threatens to displace poor neighborhoods and damage buildings of cultural importance.
“At least four churches will be affected. One of them might be completely demolished,” said Cecil Shane Chaudhry, executive director from the Catholic bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace.
“The heritage of our city is at stake and the marginalized community is taking a hit,” he said while attending a Feb. 2 rally in Lahore that opposed the construction of the Orange Line Metro Train in the city.
“The vibrations will ruin centuries old structures, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites,” Chaudhry added.
Emanuel S. Khokhar, a minister from the Central Cathedral of Praying Hands, said a mass rapid transit train system was not necessary.
“The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party has already initiated a bus rapid transit system,” he said.
“More than 10,000 families will be displaced,” he said. “There are other pressing issues … People do not have basic utilities.”
The staff at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church have been concerned since the building was visited by Lahore Development Authority officials in November.
Erected in 1860, St. Andrew’s is a place of worship for about 250 families. Its minister, the Rev. Hanook Haque said the train project is “like a sword of Damocles for us.”