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Demonstrations against Pakistani plans to build train line over churches

Christians gathered in front of the Lahore High Court to protest against the Punjab government's plans to take over the land of four churches to build the Orange Line Metro Train project.

They chanted slogans like "we won't give an inch of our holy places", and "we want our rights".

Officials have said they intend to buy the land on which the Cathedral Church, Naulakha Church, St Andrew's Church and Bohar Wala Church stand.

Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK said: "There is no respite for them and one problem after the other seems to follow Pakistani Christians.

"The Christians who are still in mourning after the Easter Sunday attack and are still trying to deal with that trauma, are now faced with the issue of the demolition of their four historic churches in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, the province where Christians suffer most.

"These churches were built pre-Pakistan and these all churches are located at very expensive and prime locations which politicians and Islamists are jealous of. They cannot stand that Christians have such prime property and they do not, so try to use any excuse to grab the land and belittle Christians."

The project to build a new Metro is costing £1.1 billion and is due to be completed in late October 2017.

Government ministers say it is vital to keep the city moving and the service will initially benefit around 250,000 passengers a day.

Mr Saeed added: "We are aware that just to save some government buildings the Government has changed its original plans. This is a controversial project and it faces a lot of opposition."

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