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Pakistan

Pakistan

World Watch List Rank 5
World Watch List Score 88/100
Leader Prime Minister Imran Khan
Population 204.6 Million I 4,015,000
Main Religion Islam
Government Federal Republic
WWL Rank in 2019 5
Persecution Level Extreme Persecution

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.

PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN

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.

How Christians are Suffering

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."

HOW WE HELP

In cooperation with local churches and other partnering ministries, Open Doors supports the church in Pakistan through:

  • Training (eg pastor's training, literacy training and vocational projects)
  • Emergency aid to victims of violent persecution
  • Women's ministry
  • Bible literacy
  • Counselling and trauma therapy.

PRAY FOR PAKISTAN

  • Ask God to protect Christian women and girls at risk of abduction, rape, forced marriage and forced conversion to Islam
  • That Pakistan’s laws will protect Christians from the strategies of radical Islamic groups
  • That God’s gracious presence in the lives of believers from Muslim backgrounds will be winsome to others.

 

 

 

 

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RECENT STORIES FROM Pakistan

Pakistan: Pray for a 13 yr old girl and her Family

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Pakistan is always high on Open Doors’ annual World Watch List. There’s a lot of violence, but what’s affecting the Church even more is ‘the…

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