Concern grows over Sharia deal in Pakistan

By February 23, 2009

Pakistan (MNN) — The United
States continues to voice its concern over Pakistan's peace deal with the
Taliban over trouble in the Swat Valley. 

Pakistan believes the agreement
was the best way to defuse a bloody insurgency in the violence-wracked
northwest. However, Islamist hardliners
have yet to disarm.

That fact distresses NATO as well as neighbouring Afghanistan and
India. Even if Islamists vowed to put
down their guns once Islamic justice is established, what body could hold them
accountable if they went back on their word?

Eric
Fellman with World Bible Translation Center says, "In the particular region that is the most tense in
Pakistan, that region has adopted Sharia law. When tightly adhered to, it can
be used to persecute any other religion except Islam."

Ironically, the ministry shares
concerns with the moderate Muslims in the country. Moderates like the slain Benazir Bhutto have
strong influence over government and its policies. The face that a Sharia agreement could come to pass
reveals a critical weakness in their hold on power. In an effort to keep moving toward democracy,
they oppose the hardliners, which benefits the growing church.

While there's relief that Sharia is
only in one region, it is likely that a toehold could become a
stranglehold. 

Fellman is concerned for their
main work in the country. Their team
routinely provides Scriptures in Urdu, the most widely=spoken language in
Pakistan. "We provide those to many
different missionaries, church groups, ministries that go into the area, relief
groups that go into the area, though we have to be careful in our packaging, in
our shipping, what channels they go through. It's always been a risk. The risk has been probably doubled now."

The thirst for the Gospel is
increasing. Having recently completed
the Gospels in Urdu, it was a matter of getting the funding needed, as well as
prayer, to get them into the hands of people.   

At the end of 2008, Fellman told us
the ministry hoped to have at least 100,000 copies for distribution.

Pray for those Christians who
want to be bold in their faith and share the Gospel. Pray that the
Christians will stay faithful to Jesus even against the threat of harm.

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