Christianity in Pakistan

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Pakistanis a country which is rich in culture and religion. Islam is the major religion but along with it there are other minorities like Christians, Hindu, Sikh, Ahmadis, Chitrals, and Afghans etc. Christians are the largest minority community inPakistan. They constitute about 1.6%of thePakistan’s population.

History:

Christianity in Asia has its roots in the very inception of Christianity, which originated with Jesus Christ, and then spread through the missionary work of his apostles. Christianity first expanded in the Levant, taking roots in the major cities such as Jerusalem and Antioch. According to tradition, further eastward expansion occurred via the preaching of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who established Christianity in the Parthian Empire (Iran) and India.

According to Eusebius’ record, the apostles Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia (modern Iran) and India. By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan(including parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity

Statistics of Christians in different provinces of Pakistan:

 

Province

Christians

North-West Frontier Province

0.21%

42,452

Federally Administered Tribal Areas

0.07%

2,223

Punjab

2.31%

1,878,735

Sindh

0.97%

344,065

Balochistan

0.40%

31,200

‎ Islamabad Capital Territory

4.07%

38,894

Some important Churches in Pakistan

•  Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lahore •  St. Andrew’s Church, Lahore

•  St. Anthony’s Church, Lahore

•  St. Joseph’s Church, Lahore

•  St. Dominic’s Church

•  St. George’s Church

•  Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul

•  The Yerusalem Methodist Church of Pakistan

•  Sacred Heart Church

•  St. Francis Xavier Cathedral

•  St. Thomas Church

•  Apostolic Charismatic Ministry   Apostolic Charismatic Ministry ACM

•  Khatoon-e-Fatima Church   (Our Lady of Fatima Church)

•  Lambs Church Assemblies of God   Lambs Church AOG

•  Protestant International Church

•  St. Thomas Church

•  Brooks Memorial Methodist Church

•  Christ the King Church

•  Church of Our Lady of Fatima

•  Dr. Luke United Methodist Church , Safora Goath

•  Holy Trinity Cathedral

•  International Church of Karachi •  Our Lady of Fatima Church

•  Philadelphia Pentecostal Church

•  Sacred Heart Church, Keamari

•  St. Andrew’s Church , also known as Scotch Church

•  St. Anthony’s Church, Cantt

•  St. Anthony’s Church, Manora

•  St. Christopher’s Church

•  St. Jude’s Church

•  St. Mark United Methodist Church , Malir Cantt

•  St. Lawrence’s Church

•  St. Patrick’s Cathedral

•  St Paul’s Parish, Azam Basti

•  Assembly of Believers

•  The Methodist Church of Pakistan

•  Church of Christ Ministries of Pakistan

•  Church of St. Mary Magdalene

•  Immaculate Conception Church

•  Presbyterian Church

•  Sacred Heart Cathedral

•  St. Andrew’s Church

•  St. Anthony’s Church

•  St. James Church

•  St. Joseph’s Church

•  St. Mary’s Church

Christians of Pakistan are very much patriotic towards their country and they are serving in every field but yet they have to face lots of problems. Under severe Islamic Religious domination, the miseries of the Christians inPakistanare enormous and visible everywhere and at every level. Although founder ofPakistanclearly said that

 

“If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor… you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state ofPakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state…”

But the present constitution, political system and government are undemocratic. No more Democracy. Theocracy is prevailing inPakistan. Under this system, the Christians of Pakistan have neither equal political, socio-economical status, nor the equal access to available opportunities in playing a leading role in the national set-up. Though Christians believe and consider themselves to be first class citizens ofPakistan, the present political system believes the Christians are second class citizens and are practically at the lowest level. They are constantly reminded at every level that it is not their country. Constitutionally, no Christian has the entitlement to become President, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Senate, or the Speaker of National Assembly (Parliament) ofPakistan. Under the Constitutional bindings, the policies and practices have been adopted by all government and judicial functionaries to ignore and neglect the Christians every time, everywhere at all levels. People at lower level have adopted this as a law that no higher position or rank is given to any Christian.

Before independence Christian Educational institutions were run by Churches but they were taken over by force and nationalized by the Bhutto government in 1972. Now, no more Christian character is being seen in these Islamized Christian Institutions. After Bhutto government many of non-Muslim institutions were denationalized and given to their owners but no Christian institution was denationalized. These institutions were the basic centers for learning, social and cultural gatherings, spiritual development for the Christians. Christian teachers, professors, or students are not seen there.

Government has reserved some seats for non-Muslims but it is a harsh reality that these seats are occupied by non Muslims. At present, more than 5000 jobs, which were for Christians are now held by the Muslims. Because of this the 5000 or more Christians have been forced to be unemployed and thousands of dependents have been deprived of their livelihood.

Due to the nationalization of Christian Educational Institutions and abolishing of the reserved seats for minorities in the government institutions in 1972, there has been an increase of the Christians in illiteracy and poverty.

The government delivers political statements from time to time in the favor of the non-Muslims minorities when some dignitary or delegation is to visitPakistanor when the Prime Minister is on tour to any country of the Western World. These statements are only spoken words in the air, just like lip service, never has any notification been issued for the socio-economic and educational development.  There is a rigid and permanent policy to erode the rights of minorities and curb them by different methods.

There in always a naked and sharpened Islamic Sword hanging on the necks of innocent Christians inPakistanin the shape of the Law (Blasphemy Laws 295.B and 295.C of Pakistan Penal Code). If any person disgraces or insults the Quran, then he has to be punished by imprisonment for life (295.B) and likewise if any person writes, speaks, illustrates or does any action in a disgracing or insulting manner, then he or she shall have to face capital punishment, there is no fine or life imprisonment.

There are also many other blasphemy laws through which there are severe punishments but these (295 B 295.C ) are open license in the hands of Muslim Fundamentalists to kill Christians and other non-Muslims. Muslim hard-liners religious scholars often deliver verdicts and print the posters on the walls stating to kill a certain person because he/she is blasphemous to Mohammed, the Holy Prophet of Muslims. It is also stated that whosoever kills a blasphemer of their prophet shall go into Heaven freely. They promise the killers their entry to heaven. This law has been widely misused by the Muslims and they use it as a tool to remove Christians which comes in their way.

By Christians in Pakistan