Persecution of Christians in Pakistan in the Light of History
Being a Christian in Pakistan is not an easy way to go. Christians there—now 2% of the population—pay a high price for being in the minority. In Islamabad (The City of Islam), a community of 5,000 of them live in extreme poverty, separated from the rest of society by a very high wall; far different from the time of Pakistan's independence.
When it gained independence in 1947, Pakistan tried to create a secular environment where all religions could thrive. However, since the mid 1970s a huge shift has taken shape, culminating in a democratic republic with Islam as the state religion, taking on more and more Islamic laws. This has led to the controversial blasphemy laws, which are used to show Christians are "un-Islamic." More and more forced conversions to Islam are taking place.
Attacks on Christians
- October 2001 - gunmen on motorcycles (officials think maybe a banned Islamic group) fire on a Protestant congregation in the Punjab, killing 18 people.
- March 2002 - five people killed in an attack on a church in Islamabad
- August 2002 - masked gunmen storm a Christian missionary school for foreigners in Islamabad, killing six, and grenades are thrown at a church in the grounds of a Christian hospital in NW Pakistan, killing three nurses.
- September 2002 - two terrorists enter the "Peace and Justice Institute", Karachi, where they separate Muslims from the Christians, then murder seven Pakistani Christians shooting them in the head
- December 2002 - three young girls are killed when a hand grenade was thrown into a church near Lahore on Christmas Day.
- November 2005 - 3,000 militant Islamists attack Christians in Sangla Hill, Pakistan, over allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian named Yousaf Masih, destroying Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Presbyterian churches.
- June 2006 - Pakistani Christian stonemason, Nasir Ashraf, was drinking water from a public facility using a glass chained to the facility, when he was assaulted by Muslims for "polluting the glass." A mob gathered, beat Ashraf, and called him a "Christian dog." Bystanders encouraged the beating and joined in. Ashraf was eventually hospitalized.
- August 2007 - Christian missionary couple, Rev. Arif and Kathleen Khan, are gunned down by militant Islamists in Islamabad who make false accusations.
Persecuted in Pakistan
- August 2009 - six Christians, including 4 women and a child, are burnt alive by militant Islamists; a church is set ablaze in Gojra, Pakistan, when violence broke out after an alleged desecration of the Qur'an.
When there is an attack on Muslims in Afghanistan or Iraq, problems increase for Pakistani Christian communities because they are seen as connected to those attacks on Muslims. Pakistani Christians are harassed at the work place and Christian women, valued so little by Muslims, are easy targets for rape, with justice for them hard to come by.
- Analyst: Pakistani marked for death for support of Christian
A government official in Pakistan is accused of gunning down Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, and analysts say the killing likely was because of Taseer's advocacy for a Christian woman convicted under the blasphemy law.
- Government of Pakistan - Blasphemy Law
Insertion of new section 295-C, Act XLV of 1860. This law applies to the Ahmadis, a minority sect of Islam, as well as Christians.
Pakistan's Blasphemy Law
The blasphemy law, 295c, allows a Muslim to make an accusation without any evidence. This provides, in essence, an open invitation to drum up false evidence to accuse a Christian of insulting or slandering the prophet Mohammed or the Qur'an; often a set up to be tricked into some offense.
Insertion of new section 295-C, Act XLV of 1860. In the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), after section 295-B, the following new section shall be inserted, namely:Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Ali Sina: Pakistan and Legalized Religious Persecution - Jihad Watch
Personal story of an upright Pakistani citizen, but non-Muslim, accused of blasphemy.
Militants have packed courtrooms and often pressured judges to prolong trials indefinitely or to rule a guilty verdict. This is immediately followed by jailing, weeks of torture and often ends in death, or a life sentence. It is hard to challenge such laws because they are instituted as Islamic law upheld by the military dictatorship.
- The Voice of the Martyrs Canada :: Pakistan :: Providing Information and Support for Persecuted Chri
Serves today's Persecuted Church in nations hostile to Christ.
Bhatti predicts own assassination
Assassination of a government cabinet member
Pakistan's minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was just assassinated. Why? He was a Christian who had retained his position in the Pakistan government following a major reshuffle on 10 February. Islamists killed him though for opposing Pakistan's blasphemy laws. His family and government officials are in disagreement on the amount of security provided Minister Bhatti.
Bhatti fought for the right for Christians to freely worship, and against radical Islam and blasphemy laws. It is said that he was "a tractor who pulled the Christian community forward." His death leaves behind a major void that will be hard to fill. This video, released by the group First Step Forum, is said to have been recorded four months ago.
Though Bhatti had requested the President and PM enhance security measures, after seeing suspicious activity at work and around his residence, no action was taken—certainly not the commandos now claimed to have been deployed for protection. He was not even provided a bullet-proof vehicle that several former ministers who no longer serve are still allowed to use.
600 Christian Families Flee
Christian activist was assassinated
- A Christian leader killed in the bloodiest month in the history of the country
"April 2012 will go down in history as one of the most tragic, for the loss of 265 lives in two accidents," while "a Christian activist involved in society and in politics was assassinated in Lahore."
© 2011 Deidre Shelden
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