BACKGROUND: Originally created as an “answer” to India’s problem of finding a homeland for its Muslim population, Pakistan, located to the northwest of India, struggles with corruption and instability caused by extremist groups such as the Taliban and self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS).
MAJOR RELIGIONS: The majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslim, but there are also sizable Sufi Muslim and Hindu populations, as well as an oppressed Christian minority.
PERSECUTOR: Pakistani Christians are widely persecuted by society, family members, radical groups like the Taliban, and the government.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN PAKISTAN: Because of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, Christians are at constant risk of being accused of blaspheming Islam, the Quran or Muhammad. Though there is often little evidence of these “crimes,” Christians receive harsh punishments when convicted. Many Christians live together in closed neighborhoods known as colonies, which provide a measure of security. Still, several large-scale attacks have occurred on these colonies in the past. The only schooling option for Christian children is government schools that teach Islam; Christian children often face harsh treatment in these schools, causing them to drop out before they complete their studies. In general, Christians are trapped in a cycle of poor education and poverty. Most are employed as indentured servants in brick kilns, as street sweepers and as sewage workers. There are a handful of long-term Christian prisoners, with others cycling in and out of prison due to blasphemy laws.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles can be printed and distributed legally in Pakistan. However, Muslim groups oppose the Bible. Those living in rural, tribal and mountainous areas have little access to God’s Word.
VOM WORK: VOM provides outreach in difficult areas, training for local pastors and evangelists and immediate aid to persecution victims. VOM also supports distributions of God’s Word in various formats.