|Persecution Type:||Islamic oppression|
|Leader:||Prime Minister Imran Khan|
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.
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.
A new 2020 Open Doors in-depth report focusing on gendered persecution surfaces some disturbing realities for Christian women and girls in the top 50 countries where women are highly persecuted for their decision to follow Jesus. Read More
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