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Pakistan

During the worship service, text messages flooded in about the attacks on two churches not far from where they were.
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About Pakistan

  • Leader:Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
  • Government:Parliamentary democracy
  • Population:199 million (4 million Christians)
  • Main Religion:Islam
  • Persecution Level:Extreme
  • Source of Persecution:Islamic extremism

Pakistan witnessed another eventful time in the reporting period. This started with the attacks by Taliban insurgents on a military-run school in Peshawar on 16 December 2014, leaving 144 dead, including 132 schoolchildren. Though the military announced a war against Islamic radicals, it continues a policy of distinguishing between “good” and “bad” jihadists. While it fights the latter, it courts the former (eg. Lashkar-e-Toiba, now Jamaat-ud-Dawah, and the Haqqani network) and uses them as a proxy to reach its goals in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and India. The recent attacks in December 2014 led to a hasty amendment of the constitution, re-introducing the death penalty and setting up special military courts for terrorism-linked cases, fulfilling two long-standing demands of the military. While observers say that the law’s strongest result is to effectively sideline elected governments, they are also doubtful that the law will reach its goal. According to numbers quoted in newspapers, 49,000 people have been arrested through this new ruling, but only 129 of these were Islamic radicals. The ratio of pickups is even more stunning: while 292,000 people were picked up by the authorities, only 140 Islamic radicals were among them. The situation in Pakistan has become so tight that the very meeting of people is seen as suspicious.

Prayer Points for Pakistan

  • Pray that Christians targeted by strict blasphemy laws would speak wisely.
  • Pray for both military and terrorist leaders, that they would encounter and heed conviction.
  • Pray that Christians being persecuted by their families will be faithful witnesses.

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