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Pakistan Facts

Score:88/ 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Extreme
Population:204,596,000
Christians:4,015,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Federal republic
Leader:Prime Minister Imran Khan

Profile of Persecution

Violence 99%
Church Life 82%
National Life 89%
Community Life 89%
Family Life 84%
Private Life 84%

Second-class citizens and blasphemy laws

In 1947, the year of the country’s independence, the situation for Christians became more complicated as Pakistan officially became a Muslim state. All Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination, illustrated by the fact that occupations seen as low, dirty and derogatory are reserved for Christians by the authorities. Many Christians are poor and some are victims of bonded labor. There are middle-class Christians as well, but this does not save them from being marginalized or persecuted.

Historic churches (like Anglican or Roman Catholic churches) have relative freedom for worship, but they are heavily monitored, and extremists regularly target them for attacks—the last one occurring in December 2017. Christian churches that are active in outreach and youthwork face more persecution. In general, Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. Also, the country’s anti-blasphemy laws are disproportionately applied against the Christian minority—making it difficult and dangerous to live out one’s faith in public. These laws tend to target religious minorities (including Muslim minorities), but affect the Christian minority in particular given their overall percentage of population.

Examples from the reporting period

In May 2019, a landlord killed a Christian worker because he dared to work for another employer, according to a report by Morning Star News. This case illustrates the low social status of most Christians and is just a glimpse of the many similar cases that often go unreported.

Although there have been no major bombing attacks against church buildings in the 2020 World Watch List reporting period, dozens of smaller “everyday attacks” against churches and cemeteries occur. One example is the desecration of the Christian cemetery of Okara on May 12, 2019.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Pakistan

  • Pakistan is an Islamic Republic that suffers from a plethora of radical Islamic groups. Pray the Pakistani government passes laws that will protect the Christians and other religious minorities in the country.
  • Pray for peace for Christians who converted from Islam. Family, friends and neighbors see these conversions as shaming the community.
  • Pray Christians accused under blasphemy laws will not face violence or mob “justice” and that they would stand strong in the midst of this dangerous trial.
  • Please pray for protection of Christian women and girls who are often raped and then forcefully married to Muslim men in the community. This usually results in forced conversions.

Stories from Pakistan

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

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January 15, 2020

The 10 most dangerous places for Christians

Looking at the places around the world where faith in Jesus costs the most. Read More

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October 12, 2019

Meet 1,000 Andrew Brunsons still in prison for their faith

There are thousands of Andrew Brunsons around the world, imprisoned because they follow Jesus. But their names and stories are virtually unknown. Read More

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