Pakistan (MNN) — Protestors held a 24-hour strike in Pakistan on Friday against amendments to the country's blasphemy law, says BBC News.
The strike resulted in the transportation shut down of two cities, Karachi and Quetta, and a partial shut down of Islamabad. Demonstrators blocked traffic, and bus owners were reportedly nervous that their vehicles would be set on fire if they tried to drive them.
The BBC reports that the blasphemy law strike was organized by Sunni Muslim clerics, and they began directly after Friday prayers.
Pakistan's blasphemy law has turned heads recently in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death for criticizing Islam.
Currently, the blasphemy law mandates that any person to insult Islam must be put to death. Although no one has ever been executed under the law, over 30 people convicted have been murdered by mobs.
According to the BBC, a private bill has been drafted to amend the blasphemy law by easing the penalty for breaking it. The bill suggests the death penalty be abolished as it relates to the blasphemy law.
Protestors were reportedly reacting to these proposed changes.
Muslim clerics went ahead with the strike despite the claim of the religious affairs minister that Pakistan "has no intention to repeal the blasphemy law." Federal Law Minister Babar Awan suspects the strike, therefore, to be an attempt to revive the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal political party, which has deteriorated over the years, more than anything.
Christians could be at risk, regardless. Pray that believers would be kept safe amidst the conflict. Pray that the blasphemy law would indeed be repealed, and that if it is, Christians would be protected; the BBC reports one Sunni cleric warning that any changes to the blasphemy law would happen "over our dead bodies."
Pray foremost that Christ would be magnified in Pakistan. The summer flooding disaster allowed many Christian groups the opportunity to disperse aid and share the Gospel. Pray that those seeds would take root and that the message of Christ would spread.