Pakistan (MNN) — With the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church just days away, Christians are feeling the pressure in Pakistan as emergency rule continues. General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution Saturday, believing the courts would remove him from power. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto escalated her confrontation with the government and has instigated protests, calling on Pakistanis to rise against the imposition of emergency rule.
Johan Candelin, Executive Director of the World Evangelical Alliance's Religious Liberty Commission, says this situation is bad. "There is no rule of law right now. Christians are being arrested, human rights workers are being arrested, and they are not being taken to court. So nobody knows where they are. Radio and television are not working, and mobile phone networks are cut down."
According to Candelin, the arrests have been puzzling because President Musharraf says emergency rule has been imposed to defeat the Islamists. "However, no Islamists have been arrested, but all the Democrats, all the human rights workers, and many of those Christians who have been speaking out about the persecution of Christians–they have been taken by the police. So there's really no logic in it."
As Christians worldwide will be praying for persecuted believes, Christians in Pakistan are asking to be remembered. "They ask ask for special prayer because if things go really wrong, then the nuclear arms in Pakistan will end up in the hands of Al-Qaeda," he says.
Candalin says if Musharraf doesn't concede, chaos could erupt. "In a nation where the majority of the population is very supportive of Islamism and neighboring Afghanistan, I think anything can happen. I think it's the most critical crisis in the world right now."
He says prayer is needed. "When a president kicks out the Supreme Court and puts in his own people, that's a very bad sign. So I think we should pray for peace, wisdom for President Musharraf, and for a return to the rule of law."