Pakistan votes amidst fear and tension

By February 19, 2008

Pakistan (MNN) — Parliamentary elections went ahead Monday
in Pakistan, amidst high security and building tensions. Spasms of violence
surrounded the run up to the polling–a consideration that adds to the unease
of what could happen when the results are announced. 

The Parliamentary vote was to have been held early January,
but it was delayed because of politician Benazir Bhutto's assassination. 

Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says, "There's a very
real concern that the situation and the stability of the nation, as a whole,
could degenerate into a war zone. That's a big issue for prayer among Christians
around the world, because if there is no stability, that will affect the
church in negative ways."

Christians currently face severe opposition from militant
Islamic groups. The war in Afghanistan intensified problems, with
Pakistani Christians seen as being a part of an attack on Islam.

In some areas, the rule of Islamic law is already being
pressed against Christians. According to
Compass Direct News, many have suffered from the growth of radical Islam in
recent weeks. The deaths of three Christians in the northern valley of Swat,
where fanatics have enforced radical Islamic law since July, sent fear through
the area's tiny Christian community.

Nettleton says because that could grow with a sympathetic
government, believers are on their knees.
"Pray for God's will in the elections. Pray that the government
that takes power will look out for the Christians, will protect their right to
worship, will protect their right to change religions, will protect their right
to conversion. I think we can pray for the believers there that they will
continue to be a witness."

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