World Watch List: 05
Leader: Arif Alvi President
Population: 204.5 million
Christian: 4 million
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
Open Doors supports the persecuted believers in Pakistan through:
- raises prayer support
“Sometimes I was so disappointed and losing courage I used to wonder whether I was coming out of jail or not, what would happen next, whether I would remain here all my life.”
– Asia Bibi, Pakistani Christian sentenced to death on false accusations of blasphemy. She was released in 2019 after immense international pressure.
Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Organised corruption and crime
Multiple causes of concern
Some churches in Pakistan have relative freedom for worship and other activities; however, they are heavily monitored and have regularly been targeted for bomb attacks in the past. Churches more active in outreach and youth work face stronger persecution. The country’s anti-blasphemy laws are disproportionately applied against the Christian minority. Believers are afraid to express their faith freely in case something they say is misinterpreted as blasphemy. Accusations lead to believers being imprisoned or killed.
The many radical Islamic groups active in the country are also a great cause of concern for the Pakistani church. They continue to flourish despite the crackdown, and hold certain influence over political groups and the authorities.
Bonded for life
Christians in general are regarded as second-class citizens. They face discrimination in work and education, and jobs that are considered ‘unclean’ are officially reserved for Christians. Thousands of Pakistani believers work as bonded labourers with no hope of ever fulfilling their bond. They are exploited and treated like slaves due to their low status.
700 women abducted yearly
There are many small-scale attacks against Christian communities, congregations and individuals, including the abduction of women, rape, forced marriages, evictions from homes and displacements in-country and abroad. An estimated 700 Christian women and girls are abducted every year and often forced to marry Muslim men. If their families complain, they are accused of harassing the ‘voluntarily converted’ girl.
- For Christian bonded labourers who work under extreme circumstances. Most of them are illiterate and are resigned to their tough lives. Pray that they will see that they have freedom in Christ, and become slaves for Jesus instead.
- For wisdom and courage for believers to know how to share their faith with others as many keep it to themselves due to the anti-blasphemy laws.
- For the women and girls who have been abducted and forcefully married to Muslim men. Pray that they can hold on to Christ, and that they can show His love to their new families.