Christians in Pakistan fear persecution could significantly increase following the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week after the Supreme Court disqualified him from his office over charges of corruption. Prime Minister Sharif faced charges of corruption after documents from a Panama-based law firm were leaked showing he and his children held large sums of money and assents in foreign companies and accounts. Many Christians fear the political chaos that will follow the Prime Minister’s resignation could leave a Christians and their community’s initiatives very low on the government’s priority list.
07/31/2017 Pakistan (Christian Post) – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who sought to protect minorities by enacting legislation, has to resign after the Supreme Court disqualified him over charges of corruption. His ouster, the Christian minority fears, could lead to a rise in persecution.
“Nawaz Sharif, with his party – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has actually brought in many laws and many changes to the life of the minorities living there,” Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told Premier in an interview. “I’m worried about the advance of that and whether now we’re going to see a return back to the heavy persecution that Christians and other minorities suffered previously.”
While persecution remained, stronger laws helped get justice for minorities under his government, Chowdhry added. “But it is still essential that we remove corruption from the political sphere in Pakistan.”
The Supreme Court dismissed Sharif under Article 62 of the Constitution after a domestic investigation into a leaked document from a Panama-based law firm indicated his children had offshore companies. The documents, often referred to as “Panama Papers,” contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former federal minister for petroleum and natural resources and a close ally of Sharif, is set to become Pakistan´s interim prime minister.
It is believed that Abbasi, the 58-year-old politician who studied at George Washington University, will later be replaced by Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is currently the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab Province.