How are Christians treated in Pakistan

Pakistan



overview

The situation of Christians has deteriorated progressively since 1947, when Pakistan officially became a Muslim state. Historic churches enjoy a certain degree of freedom, but they are closely monitored and are regularly the target of attacks. The most active churches, whose members testify to the outside world, are more persecuted. Christians, regardless of their origin, are considered second-class citizens.

As the 4th century historian Eusebius tells us, Christianity came to the region through the apostles Thomas and Bartholomew. It was strengthened in the 16th century by the arrival of the Portuguese as Catholic missionaries. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Christian communities experienced a great revival with the arrival of Protestant missionaries. Since then, the number of Christians in the country has increased. This increase has even intensified in recent years.

On the situation of Christians

Christians suffer from the dictatorship of the state and the oppression of Islam. You are the victim of institutionalized discrimination. The authorities force them to do the most humiliating and worst-paid jobs. The majority of Christians are poor, with some living in slave-like circumstances. But middle-class Christians are also marginalized and persecuted. All Christians live under the threat of the blasphemy law, which is often used against them. They can be wrongly charged, arrested, imprisoned or even sentenced to death wrongly, out of jealousy or to resolve personal conflicts.

Women and girls are particularly at risk, no matter how old they are. They become victims of kidnapping, rape, gang rape. It happens that they are forcibly married to their kidnappers and forced to adopt the Muslim faith.

Christians with a Muslim background are persecuted, harassed, physically assaulted and put under all possible pressure to return to Islam by their families and society.

Examples of persecution
  • Spring 2020 - With the restrictions that came as a result of the health crisis, the already discriminatory situation of Christians has worsened and their need has increased. Because of their beliefs, they are denied access to the food aid distributed by the government.
  • January 30, 2020 - Forty Pakistani Christians who served 5 years in prison are eventually acquitted. They had been arrested and falsely accused, but still convicted for the murder of two men during a violent demonstration following the Easter 2015 suicide bombings on two churches in Youhanabad - a predominantly Christian neighborhood of Lahore. In May 2017, the deputy prosecutor told them that they would be released if they converted to Islam. Which they then refused. Of the forty accused, two died in prison from lack of medical care and never saw their release.
Persecution in the five spheres of life

Although there were no major headline attacks during the period, violence against Christians continues unchecked in Pakistani society. Murders, large-scale riots against the Christian community in Mozang Nawababad in the Punjab, displacement and forced resettlement, kidnapping, rape and forced marriages of women and girls are the daily fate of Christians. The authorities have been completely seized by the Covid-19 crisis and that leaves the field open to Islamist groups that support the blasphemy law.

Main mechanisms of persecution

Islamic oppression, systematic corruption

Persecution of Christians

Rank in last year's index:
PK