PALS | Middle East

Pakistan

The Pakistani state religion is Islam. Almost 96% of Pakistan’s 184 million people are Muslim, leaving Christians at a mere 2%. Shari’a law is often applied to other religious groups, which makes witnessing here dangerous and the need for caution vital. The government here is corrupt and constantly deals with infighting or military dictatorships. Violence and war led by fundamentalist Islam cost thousands of lives. Many schools, called madrasas, exist only to teach shari’a law and help children memorize the Quran; the main reason they exist, beyond gaining militant support, is because of the low quality of state-funded schools and high cost of private ones. Women are allowed hardly any rights, freedoms, or education, and suffer domestic abuse regularly. Because of this social structure, witnessing to women is very hard.

The blasphemy law allows anyone to be sentenced to death for defaming Mohammad (or being accused of doing so), and life imprisonment for defiling the Quran. Many people get framed, many of which are Muslim, due to personal prejudice, motives, or jealousy. Frequently, churches are destroyed or vandalized, and people beaten, killed, raped, or forced to convert to Islam. Justice is often not found. Christians are second-rate here, making it hard to make a living. When Muslims convert to Christianity, there are deadly consequences if found out. There is a sincere need for Bible translations in Pakistan, while radio is usually the only way people hear the Gospel.