|Persecution Type:||Islamic Oppression|
|Leader:||Prime Minister Imran Khan|
Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christian persecution is a growing problem and Christians continue to live in daily fear that they will be accused of blasphemy—which can carry a penalty of death. Additionally, radical Islamists seem to be gaining more political power, and the new ruling government must maintain good diplomatic relationships with some radical groups. Christians are largely regarded as second-class citizens, and conversion to Christianity from Islam carries a great deal of risk.
Traditional, historical churches have relative freedom for worship and other activities; however, they are heavily monitored and have regularly been targeted for bomb attacks (for example, the Quetta bomb attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in December 2017). 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 very poor, and some are victims of bonded labor. There are also many Christians belonging to the middle class, but their economic status doesn’t 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, not just the poor.
On December, 17, 2017, a suicide attack against the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, claimed the lives of 11 Christians and wounded many more.
Christians continue to be killed due to blasphemy accusations but also due to their neglected status. An example of the latter is how two Christian sewage workers died in Bahawalnagar, Punjab, in May 2018. Another person had already died in January 2018.
The most well-known example of the blasphemy laws is the case of Asia Bibi. After sitting on death row for more than 10 years, the Christian wife and mother was acquitted of blasphemy charges in October, however, to date, her life is still in grave danger from radical Islamists.
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