Clergy leaders say won’t allow KP govt to grab church-owned property
The Peshawar High Court’s ruling in favour of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for assuming control of the church-owned historical Edwardes College in Peshawar continues to draw a strong reaction from the Pakistani Christian community living in the country and in other parts of the world.
Christian community leaders on Tuesday called on the government to restore the control of Peshawar’s Edwardes College back to church authorities.
Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, community representatives said, “The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has taken over control of Edwardes College which was previously under the control of the Peshawar Church.”
Presbyterian Church of Pakistan Moderator Reverend Dr Majeed Abel, Bishop Abraham Daniel of the Sahiwal Baptist Church, former Lahore Bishop Alexander John Malik, minority lawmaker Khalil Tahir Sindhu and other representatives of the Christian community addressed the event.
Addressing reporters, Dr Abel said that we have records certifying that Edwardes College is a church property and “if its status is not restored then we will have no option but to protest”.
He said that the college should be handed over to the church in accordance with the constitution and Supreme Court rulings which state that any property which falls under jurisdiction of a religious body cannot be taken over by the government.
Bishop Abraham Daniel, in his address, criticised the KP government for grabbing the church property illegally.
“All Christians unanimously demand the return of Edwardes College to the Church of Pakistan. The Imran Khan government should walk its talk on the protection of rights of minorities in Pakistan,” he said.
‘EDWARDES COLLEGE IS PRIDE OF PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS’:
On Friday, National Council of Churches-Pakistan President Rt Rev Bishop Dr Azad Marshall had also demanded the return of the Edwardes College to the church.
In a press conference, Dr Marshall said that he was optimistic that Prime Minister Imran Khan will personally look into the Edwardes College issue and hand over its control back to the church.
“Edwardes College has been the pride of the Pakistani Christian community. We hope that the prime minister will consider the services of our people in the education sector and help us in restoring the lost glory of the institute. I believe the church can turnaround Edwardes College into another great institution like the Forman Christian College (FCC) in Lahore,” he said, adding that it would also help in boosting the confidence of the Christian community in the Pakistani state.