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Pakistan: Christians say government has committed ‘a hate crime against the church’ by nationalizing college

This is reminiscent of the situation in Turkey, where, through various methods, the Turkish authorities have confiscated thousands of properties from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox community over the years. These include our monasteries, church buildings, an orphanage, private homes, apartment buildings, schools and land. The Turkish government hardened its stance still further with the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora to mosques.

Left unchecked, all this will lead to the end of the remaining Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul. 

In Pakistan, the small and embattled Christian community faces a similar situation. The Protestant Church of Pakistan has managed Edwardes College Peshawar for over 160 years. If this institution can be nationalized, so can any institution that Christians operate.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistani Christians protest nationalization of college,” by Kamran Chaudhry, UCA News, June 14, 2021:

Bishops, pastors and activists of the Protestant Church of Pakistan marched down a sun-soaked highway in northern Peshawar city on June 11 opposing the government taking over a college the church managed for over 160 years.

The Christians were protesting the June 3 verdict of the Islamic nation’s Supreme Court, which asked the church to hand over the management of Edwardes College Peshawar, the oldest missionary education institution in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to the local government.

“The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has committed a hate crime against the church,” Church of Pakistan Bishop Humphrey Peters of Peshawar told a press conference on June 11.

The nationalization of the college is “an injustice to Pakistani Christians and a violation of the constitutional rights of the weak religious minorities,” the bishop said. “The college should be returned to its real owners.”

He urged the Christian community to organize press conferences in all major cities to press for the demand. “Our struggle will continue in Pakistan and abroad,” he said.

Some politicians also supported the bishop.

Parallel protests in Europe against the Indian occupation of Kashmir as well as Pakistan illegally occupying a Christian college would be inappropriate

“It is against Islamic teachings to occupy the college from the community. We demand the army chief to intervene. Nationalization only ruins institutions,” Allama Krarwi, leader of a religio-political party called Tehreek Tahafuz Haqooq Jafaria, told the media.

“Parallel protests in Europe against the Indian occupation of Kashmir as well as Pakistan illegally occupying a Christian college would be inappropriate. It would negate our claims of being an Islamic state.”…

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