|Christians and other minority faiths in Pakistan not only face the prospect of being targeted in a violent attack, but also face everyday institutional and social discrimination. A general election is scheduled for 25 July – please pray that the election is free and fair, and takes place peacefully.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it a criminal act to insult another’s religion. The blasphemy laws are widely misused to settle personal scores and target religious minorities. Though the majority of accusations are made against Muslims, in some cases where non-Muslims are accused, their entire community may be attacked. Pray today that the blasphemy laws would be amended.
Last June, Taimoor Raza was the first person to be sentenced to death by the Anti-Terrorism Court for allegedly committing blasphemy on Facebook. Please pray for justice in his case, and that this ruling does not lead to more accusations of blasphemy on social media.
Today please pray for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. She has been on death row since 2010. Pray today for her unconditional release.
In March, 20 men accused of being part of the mob that burned Shama and Shezad Masih to death were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Pray that justice would be done in the case of Shama and Shezad, and that all those involved in their murders would be punished.
We’ve seen a worrying increase in the forced marriage and forced conversion of Christian and Hindu girls. These girls, usually just barely teenagers, are abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men who are strangers to them. Often, their families never see them again. Pray that the government and police in Pakistan would take decisive action to stop these abductions.
Students in Pakistan are exposed to biased curriculum, which breeds discrimination against religious minorities. Religious minority students face discrimination as well as physical and mental abuse from fellow classmates and teachers. Pray today for a change in the education system, and for the introduction of unbiased textbooks and non-discriminatory curricula.
Lord, we thank you for the work of our partners in Pakistan, especially the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation and the National Commission for Justice and Peace. Thank you for their calling to work with religious minorities and seek justice for the oppressed: please bless their work and grant them the physical and spiritual resources they need.