Pakistan (MNN) — A United Nations representative says Christians
are not the only people who are under pressure under Pakistan's blasphemy law.
Judges and politicians face reprisals if they speak out against the
unfair application of the code or on behalf of people who are being punished
under the blasphemy law.
A case in point: the
murders last year of politician Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti. Taseer was shot and killed by one of his own
guards in January 2011. Two months later, militants gunned down Bhatti. He was the only
Christian minister in Pakistan's Cabinet. Both were outspoken about doing away with the blasphemy law and had called attention to the case of
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman facing the death penalty for her faith.
Patrick Klein, founder and director of Vision Beyond Borders,
says this report is nothing new. "We've
heard that there has been pressure put on judges to use
the blasphemy laws to hurt the Christians. [It] seems like it's
increasing. I think if people are open
to the Gospel, we need to do what we can to get the Gospel in to them, especially
According to the U.N. representative, court officials are frequently
pressured to convict people accused under the country's blasphemy law. A
conviction calls for the death
penalty for anyone insulting
Islam, which is loosely read.
Klein explains, "They've falsely
accused pastors and evangelists of speaking against the prophet or against their holy book, or their religion. They're
using it as a way to stop the Christians."
Pakistani Christians say
the laws are often misused to settle personal scores or family feuds. The timing, Klein notes, is perfect. "We
see that God is really working in Islamic countries around the world. But we
have to be sensitive and see when God opens the door, and then work as fast as we can because we don't
know how long those doors are going to stay open."
Partners have also felt the interest. "They're asking
us for Bibles. They say that people are so open to the Gospel right now in Pakistan.
I think people have seen so much of the terrorist acts and the radical Islam, and
people are turned off. People are really searching, but we've been trying to get Bibles to them. We need to be working on a way to help them as well in persecution situations."
Klein says there's a lot of work to do to meet the demand,
starting with prayer. Specifically, "What we're hoping to do is to get
permission to print 100,000 Bibles. We think it'll cost us about $3.50 to
have them shipped into Pakistan. We'll try to work on raising funds, and
hopefully get these Bibles in there before the end of the year."
Pakistan's transformation will come from within. Klein recounts, "We had a New Testament
that got into the hands of a Taliban soldier. He read the New Testament, and he
came to faith. He has also given out 600 more New Testaments to other Taliban
soldiers. We've also heard that there have been 5,000 Muslims calling
for his death."
Pray for believers to be strong in the face of intimidation. Ask God to continue revealing Himself to Pakistan.