On May 9th, a group of Muslim men vandalized the Trinity Pentecostal Church in the town of Kala Shah Kaku over an alleged land dispute. The group was led by Malik Aun Abbas, a local property dealer who claims he has rights to the land. The men demolished the main gate and boundary wall. They then entered the church, broke the cross, damaged a wall, and threatened to burn the building and the Christians who were present. Police were called to the scene but the men escaped before the authorities arrived.
According to Pastor Samuel Hadayat, who has led the church for 22 years, an empty plot of neighbouring land measuring 101 square metres was purchased last year to better accommodate their growing congregation. However, the former owners have recently put pressure on the Christian community to relinquish the empty lot. Leaders of the church insist they have legal title to the entirety of the property, including last year's purchase of land.
When the church building located on the original property was closed due to quarantine, the perpetrators attempted to take advantage of the situation by carrying out the attack. A police report has been filed, in which Pastor Samuel Hadayat wrote, "They tried to create a fight between the Muslims and the Christians, and create hatred between both religions."
Punjab senator Kamran Michael vows to ensure the arrest of those responsible for the attack, "It is terrorism to hurt the religious sentiments of a community," he affirms. For further information and previously reported incidents of persecution and oppression committed against Christians in Pakistan, go to our country report.
Pray that this dispute will be settled amicably through legal mediation, and that peace and unity will take place among the members of this Punjabi town. May God's justice prevail, resulting in the conviction and heart-change of those responsible for the attack. Pray that the church will be a shining light of Christ's love, grace and forgiveness in their community.