With the recent and unexpected political transition in Pakistan’s top leadership position, many Christians fear the country’s uncertainty may mean more persecution. According to Open Doors USA, Pakistan ranks 4th on the list of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians. Faced with discriminatory blasphemy laws, forced conversions, targeted terrorist attacks, and widespread discrimination, it is difficult being a Christian in Pakistan even in the best of times. With turmoil at the top of the country’s political institutions, many Christians fear that radicals will take advantage of the power vacuum.
08/09/2017 Pakistan (Mission Network News) – In Pakistan, an unexpected transition of leadership means even more uncertainty for the country’s Christians.
The lower house of Parliament recently elected lawmaker Shahid Abbasi as the country’s new prime minister after the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for concealing assets.
Abbasi will serve as interim prime minister until around mid-September, when a by-election will be held to elect the next prime minister. Sharif has formulated plans for his brother to take over if he wins the election.
“What we’re looking at is a time of transition for Pakistan, and at Open Doors USA, of course, the first thing that we’re thinking of there is the consideration for the situation of Christians on the ground in Pakistan, considering all that they are already enduring,” Open Doors USA Advocacy Director Kristin Wright says. “There’s a great deal of religious persecution already taking place there. Always our concern is, ‘What is this going to mean for the Christian community?’”
Open Doors lists Pakistan at No. 4 on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. Those who convert from Islam to Christianity can receive the death penalty.