St Joseph church demolished in Karachi in spite of protests

A Catholic church which served as a site of worship for over 300 Christian families in Karachi underwent demolition day before yesterday. This transpired even after strong protests by the masses and warnings issued by human rights experts in the UN. The demolition was also protested against as part of a social media campaign led by ‘Karachi Bachao Tehreek’ on Twitter and Instagram.

URGENT: The demolition crew has arrived to tear down St. Joseph Church. We are mobilizing to arrive at the scene and document/prevent the demolition.

Please join us at this location if you can https://t.co/dUcDgHZs9b#SaveStJosephChurch https://t.co/rgjSG3fmQU

— Karachi Bachao Tehreek (@StopEvictionKHI) August 24, 2021

Abira Ashfaq, a member of of the campaign stated: “Govt of Sindh liable under section 295 — injuring or defiling places of worship thereby insulting the religion of any class where such destruction would be considered an insult — two years in jail plus fine maximum sentence. We need the names of all your foot soldiers.”

The demolition occurred as part of an anti-encroachment drive along the bank of Gujjar Nullah. The drive is being carried out without proper consultation with the locals being affected by the evictions and without the provision of adequate compensation for their losses. The drive may impact up to 96,000 people, causing mass displacement of individuals.

The demolition triggered a variety of responses, while some supporting demolitions claiming for the properties to have been on encroached land, while others denouncing it and calling it out for what it is, a violation of human rights. If such a drive is necessary to be carried out, the residents in that area should be adequately compensated for their losses by the local government. Other netizens also questioned the role of government in protecting the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

Christian women activists of Gujjar Nullah just reported that KMC crew have started breaking a wall of St Joseph church. Some more activists are on their way. Government of Sindh, we are watching. @murtazawahab1 we didn’t get homes and now you’re breaking places of worship.

— abira ashfaq (@oil_opium) August 24, 2021

what happened to preserving places of worship? where is this country heading? https://t.co/NMDKJ1xsOm

— safoora (@left1stfem) August 24, 2021
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