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CM takes notice of tweet against MPA

CM takes notice of tweet against MPA

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of a tweet of a young woman of a Christian family against a PML-N woman MPA, accusing the lawmaker of using the police to harass her family, according to the sources who say the CM has sought a detailed report from the police high-ups on the matter.

Ruth Stephen, addressing the PML-N, in her tweet had said: “A land mafia, backed by a selected MP of yours is bent upon grabbing our church land in @CMShehbaz constituency. They’ve been framing false cases against us, making a judicial suit as a criminal one”.

The sources in police said that the CM had sought a report on the case.

Ms Ruth’s family is in civil litigation to get possession of five kanal disputed land. She alleged that MPA Mary Gill has been backing her father, Raja Nathaniel Gill, to implicate her (Ruth’s) family in many criminal cases to grab the disputed land in Youhanabad which was obtained for a church.

“Nathaniel Gill, a senior lawyer by profession, misused his authority, bribed Nishtar Colony police and lodged four criminal cases against my family members,” Abraham Stephen, Ruth’s brother, told Dawn on Tuesday.

He said three FIRs were registered in 2017 and another some three weeks back with the Nishtar Colony Police Station. He lamented the police nominated his elderly father, Stephen Illyas, and 19-year-old brother Joshua Stephen, an A level student, in these cases.

“I am an engineer by profession and Mr Nathanial Gill also lodged a criminal case against me with the same police station,” Mr Abraham said, adding that his rival had filed over 20 applications against them with the police.

The first three FIRs were registered against him and his other family members under the Telegraph Act and the last one for setting Nathaniel’s car on fire, Abraham gave details. He alleged that all the applications were filed on the letter head of MPA Marry Gill and purpose was to harass him and his family to force them to withdraw the case from the civil court.

He complained that his family had suffered a lot due to police’s rude behaviour during the last couple of years, adding that his father had severe heart and paralysis attacks due to the harassment.

Abraham, however, said he and his family got a little bit relief after the chief minister took notice of his sister’s tweet on Monday.

Divisional SP Faisal Shahzad called the both the parties and after giving sympathetic hearing barred the local police from lodging further any case against his family.

MPA Mary Gill strongly denied the allegation leveled against her, saying: “The Stephen family had tactfully dragged me in the case being political leader.

“I am an MPA from the ruling party and it is very easy to target me. It is matter of fact that Nathanial Gill is my father but I have nothing to do with the case of disputed land in question,” she went on saying.

Ms Gill said neither her letterhead was used to lodge cases against Mr Stephen and his family nor would she allow anyone to misuse it.

She suggested to the Stephen family to avoid politicising the ‘local dispute’.

Mr Nathanial Gill’s stance complicated the matter when he claimed that the disputed land was not meant for the church.

“The Stephen family members are deliberately twisting the facts by giving the matter a religious colour to gain sympathies of the authorities as they fear that the judgment of the court is coming against them,” he said.

Highlighting background perspective of the disputed land, Mr Nathaniel claimed the disputed piece of land was actually owned by some Muslim people of the same area.

“It is matter of fact that it doesn’t belong to any of Christians or reserved for Church,” he said and added that originally the disputed land measuring total 66 marla was owned by one Muhammad Abdul Rehman.

Out of which, Mr Rehman sold out 19 marla to a local Muslim man, Salim Amir, settled in America, 10 marla each to Nargis Siddique and May Simen and one kanal and seven marla to an elderly lady, Kalli Bibi.

“Later I purchased three kanal and six marla piece of land from Kalli Bibi in 1995,” Mr Nathanial added.

As the land was located adjacent to the house of Mr Stephen, he illegally encroached on it a couple of years back at night, raising walls, putting up a gate and displaying on it the symbol of crucifixion, Nathanial alleged.

His rival also displayed a board ‘Convention Centre and Assembly of God’ giving it a religious colour, issuing a threat to the Muslim owners that he would bring the matter to the authorities for ‘an attempt to grab Church property’.

“I went into the litigation and after fighting the case for two years, got possession of the land through the bailiff,” Mr Nathanial said.

He denied the allegation of using influence of the police to implicate his rival family in any cases.

Model Town Division SP (Operations) Faisal Shahzad rejected the allegation leveled by the Stephen family against the police saying the accused had been declared guilty of charges in three out of the four cases lodged against them.

He said in the last case of setting car on fire, the two local residents had submitted an affidavit that they had witnessed Stephen family members while committing the crime.

“I called both the families on Monday, heard their respective claims and took a decision to resolve the issue,” Mr Shahzad said.

He said both the parties had agreed to refer the matter to ‘alternate dispute resolution’ for a permanent solution.

An important meeting to this effect has been called within a couple of days to reach a resolution, the SP said.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018

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