Pakistan (MNN) – Things in Pakistan are not calming down after last month’s protests.
The protests began after a wording change to a parliamentary bill, a change which many Pakistanis called blasphemous. For three weeks in November, demonstrators took to the streets and didn’t stop their demonstrations until the army, which was supposed to forcibly clear the demonstrators from the streets and refused, brokered a deal between the Pakistani people and the government.
But now, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has declared the army had no authority to broker a deal and has determined the deal unconstitutional.
“Justice Siddiqui, who was the one made these declarations for the IHC, said that in fact the protestors themselves were committing blasphemy. And he expressed apprehension that nobody’s life is safe in Pakistan,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.
With that said, this situation boils down to the courts pushing against the military and the military pushing against the parliamentary side of Pakistan’s government. On top of that, at the end of November, the Sunni Ittehad Council declared it heretical for anyone to vote in future elections for the current ruling government party. However, Justice Siddiqui was not having it.
“And so he even requested that the Attorney General, being a representative of the federal government, to make sure that mosques and Islamic seminaries stop issuing religious decrees declaring people to be apostates or non-Muslims — [he] said that they’ve got to stop this,” Allen explains.
Furthermore, the new political party in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Labaik, has been purposely creating chaos in the country. Why? Because it gives them momentum and an angle to play in the political game.
“Right now, [they] have parliamentarians who are defecting from the ruling party, the party of the prime minister, and switching their allegiance and coming over to [Tehreek-e-Labaik],” Allen says.
The Tehreek-e-Labaik party has been calling for new protests in attempts to keep riding the popularity wave. Combine this hunger for political power and the religious leaders’ denouncement of Pakistan’s current ruling party, it’s not hard to see why or how Pakistan’s citizens are confused.
“I was surprised that a coup could have happened in recent days in Pakistan,” Allen shares. “And I was pleasantly surprised that it did not. It hasn’t come to that point. But, you do have different leaders, being military or the courts or parliament and then these political parties all pushing against one another right now.”
Affects on Christians
And while Christians in Pakistan have been a persecuted minority for some years, Allen believes with the recent events, people can expect to see a rise in persecution against minorities in Pakistan during 2018.
“We’ve got to make sure that the Christian leaders are equipped to truly lead their congregations,” Allen says.
“To be people who can live without compromise, who can live without fear, who can still thrive and share the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their countrymen.”
FMI is looking to heavily invest in Pakistan to help prepare Christian leaders for what may come.
These Christians need help not just financially with support, but also with training resources, tangible resources, and especially prayer.
Will you help?
Start by being a part of these Christians and leaders’ support by:
Being Generous: Church planters and congregations need financial support for resources, to evangelize, build church buildings. Plus, many congregations are unable to fully support their pastors on their own. However, FMI helps supplement their financial and tangible needs through partner support from people like you.
All it takes in $120 a month to support a church planter in Pakistan.
Being Prayerful: Pray for Christian congregations to stay in-tune with God’s word. Ask God to help them decipher what would be a godly response to the chaos in their country. And pray for the Global Church to stand with these Christians in Pakistan.
Also, pray for stability in Pakistan, and the rest of the region, as well as the leaders in the country. And finally, pray for the Gospel’s impact in Pakistan and for people’s lives to be transformed by Christ’s love.
To give to FMI’s work in Pakistan, click here!
Join us tomorrow to learn how the recent protests are affecting Ahmed’s blasphemy case.