Sunday, September 28, 2008

Anglican Bishop Contests Illegal Demolition of Church Properties

PAKISTAN: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday issued notices to Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights and Federal Minority Commission in a writ petition seeking registration of first information report (FIR) against four bishops for ‘illegally’ allowing a contractor to demolish old construction of Afghan Mission Hospital and construct a commercial plaza there.

A PHC two-member bench consisting of Justice Shahjehan Khan and Justice Mussaddiq Hussain Gilani heard the writ petition.

Church Properties Bachao Tehreek Pakistan coordinator Bishop Ijaz Inayat had filed the writ petition in the PHC in which he stated that defunct Lahore Diocesan Trust Association (LDTA) chairman, Development Secretary Humphrey Peters, LDTA chairman’s representative, and Bishop of Peshawar Munawar Romal Shah ‘illegally’ leased out a portion of Afghan Mission Hospital situated in Dabgari Garden to a contractor Shahid Khan who demolished the old construction and started work on the site to build a huge commercial plaza there. The petitioner lawyer Ameenur Rehman Yousafzai contended that the LDTA chairman and Bishop of Peshawar had got the approval from Cantonment Board Peshawar (CBP) chief executive officer but he was (allegedly) kept in dark regarding the law and prescribed rules. He informed the court that the petitioner being a senior representative of the Church Properties Bachao Tehreek was approached by various welfare organisations of the Christian community and public at large to expose the ‘illegal transaction’.

He said the petitioner through various press releases published in newspapers countrywide brought the contract in the notice of the quarters concerned.

The lawyer submitted that the petitioner when contacted the Federal Minority Commission of Pakistan regarding leasing out of the hospital, he came to know that the contractor had neither applied for no objection certificate (NOC) nor the commission had issued it.

He said that the petitioner brought the matter in the notice of CBP chief executive officer and he stopped construction work on June 07, 2006. The lawyer informed the court that the petitioner wanted to register an FIR against four bishops involved in the case under Section 5 of the Presidential Ordinance-5 of 2002, but it was not explained in the ordinance that from which court he could get orders for filing of FIR against the respondents.

He contended that grabbing valuable properties in custody of LDTA is a threat to the minority community and the respondents needed to be prosecuted in accordance with law.

He said in the ordinance the law and justice department fixed seven years imprisonment sentence in fraud cases but it was not explained in the law that which court will issue orders for registering of FIR in this regard.


Source: Daily Times of Pakistan

Please pray for Pakistani Bishop Ijaz Inayat Masih. He is a friend, and his life and the lives of his flock, are always on the line.

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