Pakistan (MNN) — Suicide bombers attacked this week, and
rival parties are clashing with more frequency in the run up to Pakistan's
parliamentary elections slated for February 18.
Candidates are keeping a low profile since the assassination
of opposition leader Benazir
Bhutto at a political rally in December and the subsequent
deaths of several other candidates in the upheaval since then.
To curb the anticipated trouble, the government sent tens of
thousands of troops out to bolster security ahead of the event. Abductions, bombings, assassinations and
riots are cropping up like grass fires. The problem with grass fires is that they grow.
As the wave of pre-poll violence spreads south, Open Doors' Al
Janssen says there are concerns mounting about the influence Muslim extremists
are exerting. "Never before have
they been as far down as Lahore. Extremists have also been attacking the church
lately. There's even more concern among
the Christians: 'What's going to happen coming out of these
In 1998, Sharia law was adopted in Pakistan, under which
Christians have limited rights. Many Pakistani Christians have been falsely
accused under Law 295c of blaspheming Mohammed or the Koran, a crime punishable
Despite these harsh conditions for the church, Christians
seek to be representatives of spiritual courage and faith to unbelievers in
Janssen got a letter from a Christian in Pakistan with a
number of prayer requests: "Pray
for President Musharraf and his family–for protection, and for wisdom for
him. They also ask for prayer for the Bhutto family, particularly for the son
who's been handed the mantle. We're just praying that he'll have Christian
influence in his life. Pray for no further violence during the elections."
For those who want to send encouragement to the believers in Pakistan, click here.