Free speech suffers in Pakistan

By March 8, 2023

Pakistan (MNN) — The government ordered all satellite television channels to stop showing “live and recorded” speeches from former Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this week. Authorities then shut down the ARY News channel for daring to disobey.

“When messaging happens that doesn’t align with [the government’s] ideology, they’re going to suppress [it], and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in Pakistan right now,” World Mission’s Greg Kelley says.

“Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is the government.”

Last month, Pakistan blocked Wikipedia for hosting “blasphemous” content. Free speech advocates say there’s a concerted effort underway to control what people see on the internet.

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Pakistan “might consider [itself] a democracy in some fashion, but as soon as messaging comes out that doesn’t align with their Islamic-dominated mindset, [officials will] shut it down,” Kelley notes.

Censorship extends to religious messaging, too. Zealots often use Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law to incite mob violence against Christians.

“The way they (zealots) frame it is ‘You’re trying to tear down the Prophet Mohammed or the Koran,’ or Islam in general, and that’s not the case,” Kelley says.

“The Christian leaders we know in Pakistan [are] simply sharing the truth: the message of hope found in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.”

Pray that the Lord will give believers the courage to share His truth with their neighbors. Learn more about World Mission’s work here.

 

 

 

Header image depicts Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. (Photo courtesy of Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung via Flickr/CC2.0)