Persecution of Christians in Pakistan

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Persecution of Christians in Pakistan is endemic. The Islamic state is one where Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination and are second-class citizens, usually permitted only to do the most menial and dirty jobs. Attacks on churches, murders, assaults, and rape are often reported. Mob violence against Christians is overlooked. Under Pakistani law, Christians may be arrested for crimes of "blasphemy," and if convicted face a possible death penalty.

Some people accused of blasphemy have been lynched by crowds. Lawyers, judges and those seeking to reform the blasphemy laws have also been threatened, attacked or even killed.

In the last 20 years, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or for blasphemy. While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned owing to lack of evidence.

Open Doors put Pakistan on the fifth place on its "World Watch List" on Christian persecution.[1]

Indoctrination of Pakistani children with Anti-Christian hate

From a young age, Pakistani children are taught to hate Christians and other religious minorities.[2] [3]International Christian Concern has researched Pakistan's public school curriculum and found many instances of hateful material, which include the following:

  • "Because Christian rulers were led by fanatic priests, that war with Muslims is necessary for the protection of cross."-Class 7 Social Studies
  • "They came to came to a conclusion that Islamic zeal, values and spirit is being destroyed due to effects of non-Muslims."- Class 9 and 10 Pakistan Studies
  • "The influence of Christian pastors had increased immensely and they were openly preaching their religion aided by their rule. They freely visit the cities and villages, organized gatherings to describe the qualities of Christianity degraded other religions."-Class 8 Social Studies

Violence by Muslims against Christians

  • On February 5, 1997, a mob of 30,000 Muslims destroyed three quarters of the homes in the village of Shantinagar, located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rioters also destroyed a Salvation Army Church and Saint Joseph's Catholic church in nearby Khanawel. Patras Yusuf, the local Roman Catholic bishop said that, "It was totally preplanned activity". [4]
  • In October 2001, Muslim terrorists slaughtered 16 Christians at a Church service in the city of Bahawalpur in Pakistan.[5]
  • On August 9, 2002, gunmen threw grenades into a chapel on the grounds of the Taxila Christian Hospital. The hospital is located 15 miles west of Islamabad. The attack on the chapel killed 4 people including 2 nurses,a paramedic, and wounded 25 men and women.[6]
  • On September 25, 2002, Muslim gunmen shot 6 people dead at a Christian charity in Karachi's central business district. The gunmen went to the third floor offices of the Institute for Peace and Justice(IPJ) and tied their victims to chairs, before shooting them in the head. [7]
  • On December 25, 2002, several days after an Islamic cleric called on Muslims to kill Christians, 2 Muslim gunmen covered with burqas threw a grenade into a Presbyterian church during a Christian sermon in Chianwala. The attack killed 3 girls. [8]
  • In November 2005, 3,000 Islamists attacked Christians in Sangla Hill in Pakistan and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, and United Presbyterian churches. The attack was over allegations of a violation of Pakistan's blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian names Yousuf Masih.[9]
  • On June 5, 2006, a Pakistani Christian stonemason by the name of Nasir Ashraf was working near Lahore when he drank water from a public facility using a glass chained to the facility. He was immediately attacked by Muslims for "polluting the glass". Soon after, a mob gathered and beat Ashraf, calling him a "Christian dog". Bystanders encouraged the beating, saying it was a "good" deed that would help the Muslim mob get into heaven. Ashraf suffered broken bones and had to be hospitalized.[10]
  • In August 2006, a church and Christian homes were attacked in a village outside of the city of Lahore in a land dispute. Three Christians were seriously injured and one reported missing after around 35 Muslims burned buildings, desecrated Bibles and attacked Christians. [11]
  • On July 10, 2008, a Muslim mob carrying swords, daggers and batons, attacked a Protestant Church during a prayer service. The church was located on the outskirts of Karachi. The pastor and several other Christians, including women and girls, were rushed to the hospital.[12]
  • In June 2009, International Christian Concern reported that a Christian man was raped and killed in Pakistan, for refusing to concert to Islam. [13]
  • The 2009 Gojra riots, was a series of violent pogroms against Christians in the city of Gojra in Pakistan by Muslims. [14]
  • In March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was killed by Muslim gunmen after he spoke out against Pakistan's blasphemy laws.[15]
  • On April 29, 2011, 20 people were wounded when a mob of 500 Muslims attacked the Christian community in the city of Gujranwala in Pakistan.[16]
  • On September 23, 2012, a mob of Muslims in the city of Mardan, burnt down a church, a high school, a library, a computer laboratory, and the houses of 4 clergymen including Bishop peter Majeed. The mob also beat up the pastor's son, Zeeshan Chand. [17]
  • On October 12, 2012, Ryan Stanton, a young Christian man of the age of 16, had to go into hiding after being accused of blasphemy and after his home was ransacked by a crowd. Stanton had been framed because he refused to convert to Islam. [18]
  • In March 2013, a Muslim mob attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, where over 100 houses were burned down after a Christian was alleged to have made blasphemous remarks. [19]
  • On November 15, 2014, a young Christian couple in Pakistan was beaten by a mob and then incinerated at a brick factory.[20]
  • In November 2015, the office of Gawahi TV, a Pakistani Christian television channel, was set on fire.[21]
  • On November 23, 2015, a Christian schoolgirl was beaten up and locked in a bathroom for three hours after using a toilet designated for Muslims. [22]
  • In January 2016, the pastor of a village located near Lahore was informed that the local church building was burning. With the help of others, he was able to extinguish the flames. The Christian community said that it was a targeted attack at their place of worship. [23]
  • In May 2016, an ice-cream vendor was abused and humiliated on the street by a Muslim woman who called him a "chura"(derogatory term for Christians) and told him not to sell ice cream to Muslim children. Two days later, when he went to sell ice-cream at the same location, two other Muslim men went up to him and verbally abused him. They accused him of selling unclean items to Muslim women and children. Later on, a crowd of 20 people beat him up and vandalized his belongings.
  • In June 2016, a 16 year old Christian girl was gang raped by Muslim men in the city of Sheikhupura.
  • On October 9, 2017, a young Christian boy by the name of Arslan Masih, was beaten to death by Pakistani police. [24]
  • On July 9, 2018, Muslims looted and ransacked Christian homes, after falsely accusing a Christian of abducting a Muslim woman. [25]
  • In August 2018, International Christian Concern documented at least 14 cases of severe persecution, human rights violations and violence against Christians. In less than 31 days, 4 Christians were killed, including Vicky Saleem in Lahore, Amara in Sheikhupura, Yousaf Masih in Okara, and Mehwish Shaukat in Hyderabad. Three women were raped in Sialkot, Khanewal, and Waziabad and three more were forced to convert to Islam in Karachi, Sargodha and Sahiwal. [26]
  • On September 5, 2018, a young Christian man by the name of Faraz Badar, was sprayed with acid in Gujranwala. He later passed away from his injuries on September 15. [27]
  • On September 21, 2018, a gang of Muslims beat up a Christian man, Bashir Masih and his family in Gujar Khan and set their van and the roof of their house on fire because they did not like having Christians in their neighborhood. [28]
  • On May 11, 2019, Muslim vandals defaced and destroyed around 38 graves of Christians and uprooted the crosses on the graves.The incident occurred in a village near Lahore. [29]
  • On May 15, 2019, Sara Aslam, a 17 year old Christian girl, was abducted and raped by Ali Raza, a Muslim in Sheikhupura city. [30]
  • On May 18, 2019, a Christian man by the name of Javaid Masih, was kidnapped and tortured to death after he attempted to quit his job. The incident occurred in the Faisalabad district of the Punjab province of Pakistan. [31]
  • On May 20, 2019, a Christian garbage collector by the name of Abbas Masih was stabbed to death by a Muslim shopkeeper for not picking up the rubbish in front of his shop quickly. [32]
  • On May 25, 2019, a Christian named Kashif Masih was arrested and tortured by police in Karachi. [33]
  • In late May 2019, a 35 year old Christian auto-rickshaw driver, Sagheer Masih, was robbed, beaten, and poisoned by 3 Muslim men and one woman. [34]
  • In late February 2020, a 22 year old Pakistani Christian by the name of Saleem Masih was tortured to death after using a Muslim well for bathing. [35]
  • In April 2020, a Christian street sweeper in Gujranwala was was killed after being run over by a police van. [36]
  • On May 9, 2020, a mob of Muslim men attacked and damaged a church in Hakeempura, located in Pakistan's Sheikhupura district. [37]
  • On January 25, 2022, a 16 year old Pakistani Christian girl was kidnapped and raped by a Muslim man. [38]
  • On February 15, 2022, a 25 year old Christian man by the name of Pervez Masih was killed by a group of Muslims in Lahore, Pakistan after a dispute in a video game store. [39]
  • On April 11, 2022, Pakistani Muslim gunmen broke into a house and killed 2 Christians.[40]

Asia Bibi blasphemy case

Mrs. Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, was arrested in 2010 on charges of blasphemy, and sentenced to death. She is still in prison. In 2015 a court gave her leave to appeal but when the appeal hearing opened in October 2016, the court in Islamabad was surrounded by a furious crowd shouting for her execution and threatening the judge if the death sentence was rescinded. Hundreds of riot police had to be deployed around the Supreme Court.

Mrs Bibi, a mother of five, did simple farm work in Itanwali, a village in Punjab where most of her co-workers were Muslim. There was a tap reserved only for Muslims, and a dispute arose about using it. The Muslim workers then accused Mrs Bibi of insulting the prophet Mohammed, a charge she denies.

Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab was killed by his own bodyguard in 2011 after speaking out for Asia Bibi. When the murderer was hanged, there were massive demonstrations in protest.

Judge Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman, one of three set to hear the appeal, recused himself from the case in 2016. In 2018, Mrs Bibi is still in prison and her family is in hiding. Her husband Ashiq Masih has said that even if she is released,there is no prospect of them returning to normal life anywhere in Pakistan. [41] [42] [43] [44]

Food Aid Denied to Christians

The U.S commission on International Religious Freedom has reported that food aid is being denied to Christians and Hindus in Pakistan during the COVID-19 crisis. [45]