Pakistan (MNN) — Christians are causing problems for Pakistan’s leaders.
Over 50 Christians died on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers targeted a park. A break-away faction of the Taliban, the Jama’at-ul-Ahrar — an alleged “enemy” of the Pakistani government — quickly took credit for the attack.
According to the Institute for Conflict Management, last week’s attack was the second-worst targeting of Christians inside Pakistan.
This week, Asia Bibi — a Christian woman accused of blasphemy — has Pakistan’s government caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
“The national government in Pakistan, they have these protestors on one side of them demanding her execution,” explains Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
“They want to ‘pacify’ the radical Muslims. But, then they have the worldwide community saying, ‘What are you doing? Why would you allow that even to happen?'”
Meanwhile, Allen says things on the ground are heating to a boil.
Asia Bibi “offenses”
From the beginning, the intensity surrounding Asia Bibi’s case has garnered a high level of attention.
“Her case has been a ‘lightning rod’ regarding blasphemy law abuses. Hardline Muslims want her dead,” Allen shares.
“Only her family is allowed to see her, and her husband prepares all of her meals for her.”
As explained here, Bibi was charged with blasphemy in 2009, when defending her faith during a conversation with Muslim co-workers. The following year, Asia Bibi became the first woman in Pakistan to receive a death sentence for blasphemy.
Despite years of international outcry on her behalf and numerous appeals, Asia Bibi remains a captive of the state. Please ask the Lord to intervene on her behalf.
“Life in prison has gotten very difficult for her…. She’s been shuffled from one secure location to another.”
Asia Bibi’s life also happens to a concern for Mumtaz Qadri supporters, who swarmed Islamabad last week.
“They have a list of 10 demands,” says Allen. “One of them is the immediate implementation of Sharia law. [Another] is the execution of Asia Bibi.”
Qadri was executed earlier this year — a punishment set forth by Pakistani law — for assassinating his employer, Salmaan Taseer, in 2011. Formerly the governor of Punjab province, Taseer was a known supporter of Asia Bibi and a critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
It was for these two “offenses” that Qadri shot the governor multiple times. Today, “People are making him [Qadri] a martyr and a hero.
“There were a few thousand people in Islamabad for several days, marching in protest and [starting] riots.”
What YOU can do about it
Meanwhile, national pastors and church leaders supported by FMI are helping Christians in Lahore overcome the horrors of Easter Sunday.
“A day that was supposed to be one of rejoicing turned into one of mourning,” shares Allen.
“Pastors and other church leaders are dealing with their grieving communities, their churches. They’re [also] thinking about [church security]; ‘How do we deal with security issues so that people can feel free to worship?'”
Click here to send a note of encouragement to Pakistani Christians via Facebook. Allen says the comments will be collected and shared with believers in Pakistan.
“Those words, those prayers, carry a lot of meaning because it helps people know that they are connected to the Body of Christ and they are not forgotten.”
You can also help by clicking here and contributing to FMI’s Tangible Resources fund. “I have a request right now for several cartons of Bibles; they want to use them for evangelism and discipleship.”