Authorities in northwest Pakistan have decided to allow house churches! This follows a decision made last month to close house churches in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a Taliban stronghold on the border of Afghanistan, due to “security concerns.” Christians had protested the provincial government’s initial decision, criticizing authorities for not providing security. The authorities recently gave verbal assurances that the churches would be able to resume meeting. A suicide bombing in the province killed 127 Christians several years ago, and separate smaller attacks continued. Violence has declined since then, but Christians are still targeted.
Meanwhile, a provincial government in the southwest of the country has promised to issue weapons licenses to churches under threat. This comes after a meeting of the officials, the police and the Implementation Minority Rights Forum (IMRF) in Quetta last month. The latest move was in response to the December attack on a Methodist church in Quetta. In this attack where 400 Christians were worshipping, four suicide bombers injured numerous people and killed nine. The Balochistan province’s government also promised to give 26.5 million rupees ($239,000) to the Quetta church to assist victims’ families. The Federal Ministry for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony also promised to donate five million rupees ($45,400) to assist the church in repairs to its building. Additionally, the provincial government has requested from the city’s 41 churches that security volunteers undergo special training with the Civil Defense Directorate.
“This training will further enable a special force of volunteers to assist local police when services are held,” IMRF Chairman Samuel Pyara told UCA News. “We will form a committee to monitor these developments and settle the problems of those affected.” Pakistan lists as the fifth most dangerous country for Christians to live. Radical Islamic groups aim to eliminate Christians operating schools where youth are taught to persecute religious minorities. However, ironically, it is families of Muslim Background Believers that drive the greatest persecution.
PRAISE GOD that Pakistani Christians can continue to gather and build their community (The Bible, Luke 13:29).
PRAY that plans for the destruction of Christians will be confused and replaced with hunger for the truth about God (The Bible, Matthew 6:33).
PRAY that the churches will remain strong in their faith and attract a harvest of repentant Taliban members (The Bible, Acts 16:30-31).
PRAY for Pakistani converts who suffer the greatest persecution (The Bible, Romans 12:12).