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International Christian Concern: Persecution of Pakistani Christians Heightens in First Six Months of 2018

Pakistan is home to over two million Christians, all of whom face the daily risk of persecution and harassment. A small number of these Christians are Orthodox. Orthodox Christians in Pakistan are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, which comprises all the Orthodox Communities, Parishes, Foundations and Philanthropic Projects in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as Pakistan.

Please pray that our beloved brothers and sisters of these often forgotten communities and all the Christians of Pakistan would be granted the light of religious freedom and relief from those who blaspheme the name of God with anger, violence, and hatred.

“Persecution of Pakistani Christians Heightens in First Six Months of 2018,” Persecution.org, July 11, 2018:

Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The first six months of 2018 have marked the beginning of another frightening and difficult year for Christians in Pakistan. As we review the last six months of Christian persecution in Pakistan, you will see that the nation is yet to experience any positive change regarding religious freedom for Christians.

Since the formation of the country, Pakistan has regarded its religious minorities as second-class citizens. Upon reading Pakistan’s constitution, one can see evidence of this. Religious minorities are legally barred from high government offices and all laws are required to be compatible with Islamic teachings. The interpretation of the constitution has only served to reinforce the marginalization of Christians and other religious minorities.

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws continue to damage Pakistan’s Christian community as seven Christians were booked under these laws between January and June 2018. Six of these blasphemy accusations were reported from Faisalabad and one from Lahore.

These blasphemy allegations created country-wide tensions and threatened the entire Christian community. On February 24, Sajid Masih, one of the victims of these blasphemy accusations, sustained major injuries when he jumped from the fourth floor of the Federal Investigation Agency building in Lahore where he and his cousin, Patras Masih, also accused of blasphemy, were being tortured. Prior to jumping, Sajid had reportedly been severely tortured and ordered by investigating officers to have sex with his male cousin.

When news of the blasphemy charges against Sajid and Patras was made public, a Muslim group blocked the main roads in Lahore, demanding that the Christian youths be hanged publicly. These protests spurred many members of Lahore’s Christian community to flee their homes under threat of being set on fire by the fundamentalists.

The first six months of 2018 have also seen kidnappings, rape, forced conversions, and discrimination. Among these victims was a 25-year-old Christian girl named Asma Yaqoob. On April 17, Asma was set on fire in the Sialkot District when a Muslim man threw acid on her body. According to reports, Asma refused to marry him and resisted when he attempted to forcibly marry her and convert her to Islam. She sustained burns over 80% of her body and died after fighting for her life for six days in a Lahore hospital.
“Murders, kidnappings, forced conversions, forced marriages, attacks, discrimination, and church destruction are all issues that Pakistan’s authorities must address if Christians are to remain a part of the country’s national fabric.”…

Christian places of worship were also targeted on several occasions over the past six months. A church run by the Gospel of Jesus Mission was set ablaze in Shahdara Town in Lahore on April 15, 2018. The alter, pulpit, dozens of Christian books, carpets, pedestal fans, plastic chairs, tables, wooden crosses, tarpaulin, and worship instruments were desecrated and reduced to ashes….

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