In a welcome display of inclusion, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif extended Easter greetings to Christians in Pakistan and to Christians all over the world as they celebrated Easter Sunday on 5 April.
Referring to the status of Pakistan’s minority Christian community, President Mamnoon said, “The Christians as well as all minorities of Pakistan are equal citizens of the state and entitled to equal rights … They are a law-abiding and loyal community and we are proud of their tremendous contributions to the advancement and development of the country.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated the president’s comments as to the equal status of minority Christians in Pakistan. Alluding to the terrible attacks on two churches in Lahore last month, he said: “This year Easter falls at a time when the need for achieving interfaith harmony in Pakistan is quite earnest … The forces of discord are trying to create a rift in the fabric of Pakistani society with the nefarious aim to cause serious harm to it.”
However, just a week before these statements of support, Christian reporter, Shamim Masih, was attacked Islamabad, and warned to stop reporting on Christian persecution.
According to the leader of the Pakistan Christian Congress party, the reporter was attacked by two people on a motorcycle as he visited a residential part of the city. “The motorbike riders got down from their bike and started beating Shamim Masih,” he said. “[They] broke his arm and warned him that if he did not stop reporting on Christian issues, they knew his family and home and would teach him and his family a lesson.”
- Pray for Pakistan’s Christians, that they will be recognised by the wider Pakistan community as a valuable part their country.
- Pray that they will, indeed, be seen as equal citizens, something that is not generally the case at the moment.
- Pray for protection for Pakistan Christians and that their witness to the truth of the Gospel will bear much fruit in the lives of their families and communities.
- Pray that the government will protect them, and not give in to demands and pressures from radical Islamists.
Phillipians 2 vs 10-11: “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”