Christian persecution in Pakistan is unfortunately some of the worst in the entire world. This year, Open Doors ranked the country as the fifth worst persecutor of Christians and, unfortunately, several incidents over the past month have justified that ranking. Pakistani Christians continue to cry out for an end to the discrimination and violence they face every day. In the midst of the atrocities, one silver lining stands out – Asia Bibi, who spent 10 years in prison for a false accusation of blasphemy, was released and sent to Canada. We are grateful to God for her release, but consistently pray and advocate for other Christians who live in fear of discrimination and abuse.
On May 1, 2019, Pastor Naveed Azam, the leader of an Assemblies of God church in Karachi, Pakistan, received a threatening letter from an unknown person. It read, “Be prepared to pay five million Pak Rupees (approximately $32,000 USD) or get ready to bury 50 members of your congregation.” Although the message justifiably raises concern, Pastor Azam continues to preach in a community that is dedicated to tearing down his church. He needs prayers to remain strong especially in this time when his safety and the lives of his congregation are under threat.
Approximately 10 days after that incident, in a strange but deeply ill-mannered event, vandals defaced and destroyed about 40 graves of dead Christians and made sure to uproot the crosses that were found on each of these graves. This incident happened in Chak village in the district of Okra, a city located in the Southwest of Lahore.
The following week, on May 15, 2019, Sara Aslam, a 17-year-old Christian girl, was abducted and raped by Ali Raza, a Muslim in Sheikhupura city in the Punjab Province. Although a First Information Report was registered against the perpetrator, the police did not arrest the rapist until several Christians drew their attention to the incident. In two other rape incidents that occurred a few days apart, Sania Lateef, a Christian girl was kidnaped by two Muslim men – Muhammad Naveed and Muhammad Perveze from Faisalabad. Her parents filed a complaint to the police, however, police refused to register the First Information Report. Four days later on May 29, 2019, Sheetal Asghar, another 17-year-old Christian girl was reportedly abducted, raped, and converted to Islam by a group of Muslims in Sheikupura. Thankfully, she was able to escape and reunite with her family after almost a week away from home.
Read more at International Christian Concern