For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church and I invite you to join me.
Pakistan has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, behind Indonesia and India. This Sunni-majority country is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, although it’s officially a democracy. Its government and military leaders struggle to control domestic insurgents, many of whom are located in the tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan. The country suffers from chronic sectarian and religiously motivated violence. Pakistan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the USCIRF since 2002.
Though the constitution guarantees religious freedom, Christians increasingly suffer under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The law stipulates that any person who defiles the name of the prophet Muhammad or the Quran may be punished by life in prison or death. One case that has garnered international attention involves Asia Bibi, a 41-year-old Christian who in 2010 became the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. Her legal appeal was denied in October 2014 and will be heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Churches in Pakistan are frequently vandalized.
- For Aasiya (Asia) Bibi who remains in prison for alleged blasphemy after her appeal was turned down by the Pakistani High Court
- For the growing number of Christian women and girls who are targets of kidnappers and sexual assault
- That the Taliban will be driven out of the country by government forces
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