Known as the land of poetry, Pakistan is a complex blend of old and new. Though the nation has only been officially recognized for a few decades, ancient ties connect it to a religious and historical background thousands of years older than the country itself. Home to the oldest university in the world, Taxila, and dozens of distinctive cultures scattered through the various tribes in the Karakoram mountain range, Pakistan is a unique fusion of diverse customs and unity through a predominantly shared Islamic faith.
In spite of its rich culture, Pakistan is a poor nation with bleak economic outlooks. An estimated thirty-five percent of the people live below the poverty line, and children are often pulled out of school to work in order to supplement family income. Substance abuse is considered the greatest social issue in Pakistan, closely followed by low literacy rates and government corruption. In 2006, the Pakistani government was forced into an agreement with Islamic extremists which gave the militants complete control over numerous territories and allowed the development of Taliban-run schools. These extremists now control almost seventy percent of the country.
With most of the country controlled by Islamic fanaticism, Christians live in a constant reality of abuse, abduction, rape, and murder. Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim nation, is located near the center of the unevangelized world. Outside of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has the greatest concentration of Islam with over ninety-five percent claiming themselves as followers. Bible translation is exceptionally difficult, and only seven of the seventy languages used in Pakistan have a completed New Testament. Christians and Muslim background believers living in secret struggle to forgive the injustices they are experiencing at the hands of those who do not know the Lord. May the Lord’s peace prevail in the uncertainty of Pakistan and strength be with those who spread the gospel.
In these days of tension, with demands for change of government, pray for the peace of this nation, for justice and righteousness to flood the nation, and for the Church to be a voice for hope and reconciliation.