|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|Prime Minister Imran Khan||200.8 million | 3.9 million Christians|
|WWL Rank in 2018||Persecution Level|
Muslim and Christians coexist in Pakistan, however, they’re normally considered separate and unequal. The streets where Christians live are dusty and the living conditions are cramped. Christians are treated like second-class citizens and often remain impoverished due to discrimination in the workplace.
Converting to Christianity is dangerous. Muslims wishing to leave Islam and follow Jesus are threatened by their friends and family. Their new faith is viewed as shameful and dishonoring. The blasphemy law also means Christians can lose their jobs, social status or their lives for speaking out about their faith in Jesus.
Pakistan remains one of the most violent countries in the world for Christians. At least 15 Christians were killed during the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, often in relation to blasphemy laws. However, God is moving in Pakistan and the church continues to meet together despite the cost.
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:
07th Nov 2018
Found in Stories
The Pakistani Supreme Court has just ordered the immediate release of Aasiya Bibi, the Christian woman who has spent over 8 years on death row.Read More
26th Apr 2018
Found in Stories
Bibi, sentenced to death in Pakistan on blasphemy charges, may be tried on appeal on Friday.Read More
Jul 24, 2018
Author Open Doors Canada
The country of Pakistan prepares for national and provincial elections on July 25. We request prayer for Pakistani Christians at…Read More
Jun 22, 2018
Author Open Doors Canada
Pakistan is always high on Open Doors’ annual World Watch List. There’s a lot of violence, but what’s affecting the…Read More
Jun 14, 2018
Author Monica Ratra
The Dutchman who became known as ‘God’s Smuggler’ celebrated his 90th birthday just days after a rare trip to his beloved…Read More