Church authorities have moved the Lahore High Court against the Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) plans to construct a sewerage pumping station for the Orange Lahore Metro Train on the land beside the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection. A letter written by the LDA, demanded ‘politely’ that the three kanal land be handed over for the project and that construction should continue for the wider public interest. Although the land is seemingly empty, the Church regularly uses it to host large religious gatherings and the land also functions as a playground for the children on a daily basis.

The Cathedral Church of the Resurrection has a rich history that can be traced to the first chapel that was set up in the Lahore Fort, in the once extravagant Diwan-e-Khass of Emperor Shah Jahan. The church was built in 1887 out of pink sandstone and designed by architect John Oldrid Scott (son of famous architect George Gilbert Scott). It was designed in “decorated early English style” and later it was decided to enlarge the building into a larger church fitted as a cathedral, with a library and chapter house. Had this been a mosque and not a church, would its land still be appropriated for a sewerage plant to be built next to it? Would it have not been an unthinkable act of disrespect?

If the government cannot be sensitive to the faith of these people, there are laws that are protecting the land that the authorities should respect. Under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, land attached to any religious place is excluded from the notification issued from the government to acquire land. It would be unfortunate to see a place of such significance to the people transform into a sewerage pumping station, and that too right next to a beautiful and historic monument.