|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi||197 million | 3.9 million Christians|
|WWL Rank in 2017||Persecution Level|
In Pakistan, radical Islamic groups do not just exist, they can flourish and expand because some of them are courted by political parties, the army and the government. Especially the army continues to follow a policy of distinguishing between good and bad Taliban, which is widely followed by the government. Until this changes, radical Islamic groups will continue to run thousands of madrassas (in which no-one knows exactly what is taught or how they are financed) and they will be able to stir up citizens (especially youth) all across the country encouraging them to act against religious minorities such as Christians. Converts face these hostile forces as well, but for them the main danger comes from their own families as conversion away from Islam is a great shame for family and community.
Historic churches have relative freedom for worship and other activities, however, they are heavily monitored and have regularly been targeted for bomb attacks (but no bombings were successful in the WWL 2018 reporting period). Christian churches more active in outreach and youth-work face stronger persecution in society. All Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination, illustrated by the fact that occupations seen as low, dirty and derogatory are officially reserved for Christians. Many Christians are anyway poor and several are victims of bonded labor.
On the other hand, there are many Christians belonging to the middle class as well, but this does not save them from being marginalized or persecuted. The country’s notorious blasphemy laws target religious minorities (including Muslim minorities), but affect the Christian minority in particular.
A new development was the killing of two Chinese Christians, working in Pakistan, 24 year-old Li Xinheng and 26 year-old Meng Lisi, in May 2017. They were killed by militants connected to the Islamic State group which accused them of proselytizing.
But your support and prayers make a real difference to the lives of our brothers and sisters facing extreme persecution in Pakistan. One believer, whose wife has received trauma care through a local partner, says: "My wife Nuzhat had 22 wounds in her body after our church was attacked by extremists. It's amazing to see how she has grown through the singing and music therapy. The road to recovery is long but I have my wife back."
In cooperation with local churches and other partnering ministries, Open Doors supports the church in Pakistan through: