The situation for Christians in Pakistan remains tense as Nawaz Sharif resumes the office of Pakistani Prime Minister for a third term. While a significant number of Christians voted for Sharif’s party, there are concerns as to whether or not Sharif will take steps to improve the deteriorating situation of Christians in Pakistan who continue to face brutality and discrimination at the hands of religious-fanatics. Upon reelection, Sharif once again has an opportunity to take positive steps toward true religious freedom, such as repealing blasphemy laws, curbing acts of violence, and condemning what has become a culture accepting of abuse against ethnic and religious minorities. Whether or not Sharif holds any intention take the above steps remains unclear.
6/6/2013 Pakistan (WorldWatchMonitor) – Pakistan’s Christians appear to have thrown some of their political support to Nawaz Sharif in the May 11 national election, even as they have reason to be wary of his return to power.
Sharif’s party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, or PMLN, won 124 of the 272 directly elected seats in the lower house of Parliament. In Punjab province, home to more than half of Pakistan’s population and 80 percent of its Christians, the PMLN won a two-thirds majority in the provincial government.
It is a remarkable comeback for Sharif, who was ousted by a military coup in 1999 and spent seven years’ exile in Saudi Arabia and Great Britain. On June 5, he took office as prime minister, Pakistan’s top executive position, for a third time.
At points during the campaign, Sharif promised his party would give equal rights to minorities, including Christians.
“The situation of Christians may be different this time because (the) Sharif brothers have promised to bring positive changes for minorities,” said Irfan Barkat, a Christian activist who once worked with the National Commission of Justice and Peace.