A politician belonging to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PTI party directed the destruction of houses and graveyards belonging to the Christian community in Khanewal district of country’s Punjab province.
According to reports, a group of people led by a local landlord Zafar Iqbal Nunari and a politician from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) forcibly occupied the more than 100-year-old graveyard in Chak village and ploughed up the graves. Nunari along with his followers including Akram Ghulam Haider, Iqbal Ghulam Qadir reportedly arrived at the graveyard with a tractor on the day of the incident.
The Christian community there reportedly protested against the violation and tried to stop the vandalism. However, they were allegedly threatened with guns. According to international media reports, all graves that were destroyed had crosses fixed on the top. A former member of the district council Akhtar Khursheed brought the entire matter up with local authorities and urged for a drastic step against the desecration of the graves.
Sources of a news agency have also claimed that some of the houses occupied by the Christians were demolished and people were forced to flee from their homes. Amid widespread discrimination against the Christian community in Pakistan, the properties owned by the minorities are often subjected to injustice including land grabbing and being the target of criminals. Moreover, the economic disparities and religious bias in Pakistan’s judiciary have increased the struggles Christians face to recover the lost land.