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Pakistan prime minister disqualified for corruption

By August 9, 2017

Pakistan (MNN) – In Pakistan, an unexpected transition of leadership means even more uncertainty for the country’s Christians.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

The lower house of Parliament recently elected lawmaker Shahid Abbasi as the country’s new prime minister after the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for concealing assets.

Abbasi will serve as interim prime minister until around mid-September, when a by-election will be held to elect the next prime minister. Sharif has formulated plans for his brother to take over if he wins the election.

“What we’re looking at is a time of transition for Pakistan, and at Open Doors USA, of course, the first thing that we’re thinking of there is the consideration for the situation of Christians on the ground in Pakistan, considering all that they are already enduring,” Open Doors USA Advocacy Director Kristin Wright says. “There’s a great deal of religious persecution already taking place there. Always our concern is, ‘What is this going to mean for the Christian community?’”

Open Doors lists Pakistan at No. 4 on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. Those who convert from Islam to Christianity can receive the death penalty.

“I also want to bring up a statistic from Pew Research that actually shows that right around 62 percent of Pakistan’s largely Muslim population actually supports the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam,” Wright says. “We’re looking at a country where Christians are right around maybe 2 percent of the population, and so they’re a very marginalized society.”

Wright has visited Pakistan multiple times, where she has witnessed the specific ways in which Christians are treated as second-class citizens.

asiabibi

Asia Bibi is still imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges. (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs, Canada)

“I can tell you that the situation for Christians is that they are often considered sort of at the lowest rung of society,” Wright says. “Education is difficult for them to access. They also take up very low paying jobs. Many Christians have been put on trial for blasphemy, have been in prison.

“There is a woman, Asia Bibi, a case that many people are now familiar with, who remains in prison for the supposed crime of blasphemy.”

The U.S. recently took a step toward defending the persecuted around the world, as the Trump administration named Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as ambassador at large for international religious freedom.

Wright asks that you also take action on behalf of persecuted believers. She says we should be praying for courage for believers and for release from unjust imprisonment, as well as peace during this time of political transition. Remember specifically to pray on November 12, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Open Doors has numerous resources to help you take action on behalf of persecuted believers around the world. Click here to learn more. Or, if you’d like to contribute financially, click here.

One Comment

  • Tami Carter says:

    We are still praying for Asia Bibi every day that God would release her, but that while He has her there to please give her opportunities each day to witness to her guards, other inmates, and her family. Please Heavenly Father, provide her courage & continued stamina to stand for You while she, somehow, makes it through each day. Our thoughts and prayers have not waned for Asia. For anyone who may have any contact with her, please tell her again & again that there are many in the west who will not forget her or stop praying for her, and certainly her precious Heavenly Father has total control over the situation & is obviously using her for His glory & she is so honored to be found worthy to suffer for all these years for His Glory. All praise to Him who knows all, even though we cannot see with our finite mind why or what is happening, He is Omniscience & knows all. We love you Heavenly Father, & we love you precious sister in Christ, Asia! Amen

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