Pakistan (MNN) –Christians in Pakistan have been facing intense persecution this past week. At least two churches were attacked over the weekend. The first attack happened in the city of Quetta which is a part of the Balochistan province. It’s an area known for unrest and religious extremism.
“Gunmen, on motorcycles, opened up fire on Christian worshipers as they were exiting the worship services on Sunday,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.
At least two Christians were killed, and three others were injured in the drive-by shooting. On Monday, funerals were held for them. The attack didn’t target any individual in particular, but the Christian congregation as a whole.
Allen says it’s feasible this attack is a follow up from the recent threat of Christian genocide in the region. The threat came in the form of a note left at a crime scene earlier this month where a family of four was killed by gunmen on motorcycles. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both drive-by shootings.
However, no government or local officials have acknowledged either of these attacks. In fact, the Pakistani government has taken a stance of ignorance and refuses to acknowledge ISIS’ presence in the country. Some believe this is why the government has chosen not to acknowledge these attacks.
Failing Human Rights
Yet, the government’s actions fall in line with the contents of a recent report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The report states that Pakistan continues to fail when it comes to human rights. It also indicates that attacks against minorities, including Christians, is rising.
Frustrated, thousands of people staged protests following the shooting on Sunday. Demonstrators set up tires and lit them on fire, preventing others from passing. Then, as the evening continued, the demonstrators suddenly ended their protest. Allen says many Christians in the area fear for their lives. They feel unprotected by their government.
“The second attack was arson, in Lahore, [in the Punjab province]. There are just charred remains of a church in the city, when Bibles and other contents in the church, that would have been combustible, were set ablaze in hopes of destroying the whole church,” Allen says.
This church is located in the Paracha colony of Shahdara in Lahore. Several unidentified people participated in this arson attack. Thankfully, there have been no reports of injuries. However, it’s hard to know what the future holds.
Yet, despite the attacks, Allen says God is at work in Pakistan. People are spiritually hungry and many are turning to Christ.
Just last year, FMI ministry partners in Pakistan saw 3,855 people place their faith in Jesus. God is at work in Pakistan, so let’s pray.
Pray for the Christian Pakistanis to have creativity and wisdom when engaging in ministry, and pray for their encouragement. Ask God to give them strength to persevere, and for His hand of protection to be over them.
Want to tangibly help believers in Pakistan? Then help support a church planter or pastor through FMI.