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ICC Note:

Christians in Lahore, Pakistan held massive protests yesterday against the planned demolition of four churches in the city. The demolitions will make way for the construction of a metro train project. Of the four churches slated to be demolished, three are over 100 years old and are important to the cultural heritage of  Lahore for the Christian community. Christians and their places of worship are often discriminated against in Pakistan. The destruction of these four churches would be another tragedy that the Christian community of Pakistan would be forced to endure. 

5/4/2016 Pakistan (Pakistan Today) – The Christian community staged a massive protest in front of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on a scorching Tuesday against Punjab government’s plans to acquire land of four churches to make way for the construction of the Orange Line Metro Train project.

Slogans like “Change the route of Orange Line train”, “We won’t give an inch of our holy places” and “We want our rights” reverberated The Mall as protesters, including children and women, assembled at GPO Chowk.

The protesters, who were holding placards, banners and crucifixes, made it clear that they would not compromise on the sanctity of their worship places, and demanded the Punjab government review the route of the project.

According to details, the Punjab government intends to acquire large portions of four churches – Cathedral Church, Naulakha Church, St Andrew’s Church and Bohar Wala Church – for construction of the Orange Line project which has angered the Christian community and forced them to take to streets.

The said churches hold significance not only for the Christian community but are also part of Lahore’s cultural heritage since they had been established in pre-Partition days.

The protesters Pakistan Today talked to said that a wave of resentment surfaced among the Christian community when they came to know about the government’s plans to desecrate their holy places.

“The Christian community will not let anyone grab the land of their churches,” Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) Chairman Sajid Ishaq said.

Talking to Pakistan Today, he said that the route of the Orange Line project had been diverted to save the property of Minister Excise and Taxation Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and the same must be done to save these churches.

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