Faisalabad: February 17, 2009. The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that a rich Muslim tenant has robbed his Christian landowner of several acres of farmland he is renting in Faisalabad, P
Distressed by the situation, the elderly Christian landowner died, and his daughter is now trying to recover the family farm, but police have refused to pursue the case.
This is another example of how Muslims in Pakistan specifically target their criminal activities against Christians because they know the justice system is prejudiced against non-Muslims.
Mehnga Masih, a Christian farmer, owned 11 acres of agricultural land in the village Chak 51 GB of Faisalabad district, and rented five acres of the land in 1998 to a Muslim farmer, Zahoor Ahmad Khan, for eleven years. Their contract provided that the land would remain the sole property of Mehnga Masih and Khan would only use it for producing crops.
After a few years, however, Khan cut down several trees so he could build a farmhouse and hired some men to work from his new farmhouse, none of which was allowed based on his contract with Mehnga. To make matters worse, Khan then tried to build a mosque on Mehnga's property.
Mehnga reminded Khan that he could not build without permission, but Khan retorted that he was the owner of the land and could do anything he wanted. Mehnga successfully stopped him from building the mosque by gaining the support of his neighbors, but Khan refused to take down the farmhouse he had built.
Mehnga's daughter, Josephine Akhtar Mehnga, told ICC, "That was a shocking thing for us and we smelled that Khan was planning something wrong and wanted to grab the land." In the meantime, however, Mehnga became seriously ill and died. Josephine is convinced that the stress over Khan's activities drove her father to his grave.
After Mehnga's death, Josephine discovered that Khan had forged documents to say that he owned all 11 acres of the Christian family's farm.
In 2005, Josephine and her brothers made an official request for police action against Khan, but the police refused to follow up on the application, and so Khan became more emboldened in his forged claim to the land.
Lease Runs Out, but Muslim Tenant Refuses to Leave
The matter recently came to a head because, according to the contract, Khan was supposed to vacate the land on January 13, 2009. Josephine and her brothers visited Khan to tell him that it was time for him to leave, but Khan held fast in his claim to the land. Josephine said that the two sides exchanged "harsh words" and then the Christians left.
Almost two weeks later, police showed up at Josephine's home to arrest her and her brothers for "attacking" Khan's farmhouse during their visit on January 13. The police told Josephine that Khan had registered a case against her family, claiming that Josephine, her brothers and other relatives had vandalized Khan's farmhouse, damaged his crops and harassed his farm workers on January 13.
Though Josephine's brothers were not at home, the police still attempted to arrest her but stopped after a local Christian human rights group intervened.
Josephine and her family are now living in fear. Josephine criticized the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Turkhani police station for not taking her case against Khan but instead taking his case against her family, suspecting that the SHO must have received a bribe from Khan.