Pak Christian families forced out of homes over marriage

Four Christian families were forced out of their homes in Pakistan`s Punjab province after a man from the minority community married a Muslim girl, Christian leaders said on Wednesday.

Lahore: Four Christian families were forced out of their homes in Pakistan`s Punjab province after a man from the minority community married a Muslim girl, Christian leaders said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred some days ago in Sargodha district, 200 km from the Punjab capital of Lahore. The displaced families today held a protest outside Lahore Press Club and demanded the government should help them return to their houses.

They also asked authorities to help them get back money and household items that were allegedly looted from their homes by Muslim residents of their neighbourhood.

Holding placards and crosses, the Christians alleged they were "tortured" by Muslim residents of Chak-38 village in Sargodha last week.

The head of the affected Christians, Nazir Masih, told a news agency that his nephew Ansar Masih had married a Muslim girl named Muneza several months ago.

"The woman`s brother-in-law, Rana Saifullah, warned us to hand over Ansar and Muneza, otherwise they would not spare our families," Masih said.

Ansar Masih left the area after marrying Muneza. "We told them (Muslims) that we don`t know about the whereabouts of the couple," he said.

"On hearing this, Saifullah gathered the local Muslims who tortured the relatives of Ansar. They also looted their houses and shops and then occupied them," he alleged.

Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan chairman Aslam Sahotra told a news agency that over two dozen members of the affected Christian families were "on the run" and the government was paying no attention to their plight.

"It is unfortunate that neither Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif nor minority lawmakers took notice of the matter," he said. District police chief Haider Ashraf was reluctant to take action against the culprits, Sahotra claimed.

The affected Christians would organise a protest outside the parliament in Islamabad to force the government to take notice of their problems, Sahotra said.

PTI