According to Pakistan Today, while Pakistani Christians are known to be the most at risk community in Pakistan, they enjoy a surprising amount of liberty in the South Waziristan Agency (SWA).
There is only one church in the heart of Wana, the main town in SWA, and members of the small Christian community regularly meet together, despite the precarious security situation. There are over 1,000 Christians are living in Wana.
Pervez Masih, a retired commander from the ‘Militia Force’ residing in South Waziristan, told Pakistan Today that, as Christians, they are peace-loving people and the local tribes have treated them with great respect.
“The locals have a good behaviour towards us and we have never faced any problem here despite the fragile security situation in the area,” he said.
Pervez said that they enjoyed complete religious freedom and even shared moments of happiness and sorrow with Muslims.
“Christians are facing numerous problems elsewhere in the country, but we are enjoying extreme liberty and cordial relations with our Muslim brothers,” he said with great satisfaction.
A senior journalist from South Waziristan, Zulfiqar Ali, said that undoubtedly people from the Christian community, who have been living in the area since before Pakistan was a country, are enjoying complete freedom. This is despite the uncertain security situation in SWA, due to the ongoing military operations against the Taliban,
He said that members of the Christian community have their own businesses and can roam freely across the agency without fear. They even take part in the celebrations of Muslim and vice versa, as they have good friends in the area, he added.
However, members of the minority Christian community have anonymously told Pakistan Today that, despite good relations with the locals, they do have issues with the local administration, which has not allotted them any land to bury their dead.
They also said that most of their young people are jobless and the community does not get any jobs through the five per cent quota reserved for minorities.
- Give thanks for the relative peace for Christians living in SWA. Pray for ongoing good relationship with their Muslim neighbours and for many to come to know the truth of the Gospel through these friendships.
- Pray for good relationships with local authorities, for burial paces for Christians and for jobs for Christian young people in this community.
- Pray for Christians across Pakistan, many of whom face fear, persecution and oppression.
- Pray for an end to the growing Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan, and for freedom for all to worship and live without fear.
Psalm 5 vs 11: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.”
Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk, http://www.persecution.org/2016