February 3, 2015
By Lorra B.
In Pakistan’s Muzaffargarh, there are over 3.8 million residents. Of those Residents, 99 percent are Muslims. The Christians who live there have always stood their ground under both severe strict Islamic law and persecutions. But, while visiting their local cemetery, Christian families were shocked to find that the crosses and markers covering the graves had been seized my local Muslims.
This Punjab city is dangerous for the few Christians that live there. Christians are considered both idolaters and unclean. Therefore, Christian families are forced to be buried in different cemeteries.
Being buried in different cemeteries, however, has not stopped the unthinkable from happening. Muslims had desecrated the ground which lay Christian graves by, unimaginably, setting up shops and stands in which to sell goods and services.
“It all started years ago with a cobbler who set up shop to mend shoes on the edge of the graveyard,” Dawn News stated.
It wasn’t long before crosses were replaced with anything from milk shops to small homes.
“Imagine, someone’s bathroom now sits on top of my ancestral graves,” stated Waseem Shakir. “Everyone recognizes that there exists a Christian graveyard, which is no longer functioning as a graveyard for the Christian community, but rather land grabbers have taken hold of the land! Everyone knows this, all the public bodies as well as the people who have the power and the jurisdiction to do something about it, yet no one has actually done anything to help the situation.”
The grief the Christian families are going through is monumental and, seemingly, with no end in sight. “It was very hard to show to people, because one day, the grave is there and the next day someone has built a shop over the grave,” commented Shakir. “The only solution that we have is that we can excavate the graves and then give them new sites for their bodies to be laid to rest. That is the only proof that we can muster.”
Having been beaten by those tending the new shops, mourners eventually stopped going to grieve the loss of loved ones at the cemetery.