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ICC Note:

For three weeks, anti-government protesters have been rallying in Pakistan claiming that the current government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is corrupt. Despite the escalation in the protests, Sharif continues to hold on to power. Many in the Christian community fear this social unrest because often frustrations with Pakistani society are taken out on minority communities, including and especially Christians. Please pray for the safety of Christians as these protests continue.

9/3/2014 Pakistan (Mission Network News) – Pakistan protests are entering their third week, and protesters are reportedly ratcheting up their intensity, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif clings to power.

“The whole country is on a knife’s edge right now,” says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI). “It’s gotten fairly violent in the clashes with police, as they’re trying to maintain order and calm.”

In mid-August, thousands of protestors began filing into the capital city of Islamabad to voice disapproval of what they deemed a “corrupt government.” Two prominent figures are at the helm of the unrest, Allen says.

“One is a former cricket player turned politician; another is an Islamic cleric from Canada who’s arrived on the scene. He’s also Pakistani,” states Allen.

“They’ve rallied support against what they call a ‘very corrupt’ government and are calling for the ouster of the Prime Minister.”

While this unrest may look very similar to demonstrations that formed the Arab Spring–widespread civilian uprisings against corrupt government institutions, Allen says these Pakistan protests aren’t shaped from the same mold.

“This is, sad to say, ‘politics as usual’ for Pakistan,” he explains.

Ever since Pakistan was partitioned out of India in 1947, there has only been one successful democratic transfer of power. Sharif himself was ousted during his second reign as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 1999.

“In the past, it’s always been assassinations, coups, or martial law,” says Allen, referring to the way power is transferred in Pakistan.

Christians sometimes bear the brunt of community unhappiness during times of unrest, he adds.

“When the majority population [feels] frustrated with what’s happening in the country, [they] take it out on a Christian,” Allen says.

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