Advocacy organisations have warned against rising threat levels against Christians in Pakistan, highlighting the continued use of highly contentious blasphemy laws and institutionalised aggression.
Open Doors has branded the persecution level in the country – which is the fifth-largest by population – as ‘extreme’. In its 2020 World Watch List, it cited ‘dozens of smaller, everyday attacks’ against churches, cemeteries, and Christian communities.
According to Open Doors, Christian churches that are active in outreach and youth work face more persecution.
Open Doors stated, ‘In general, Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. Also, the country’s anti-blasphemy laws are disproportionately applied against the Christian minority, making it difficult and dangerous to live out one’s faith in public.’
In November, Release International reported how the family of a Pakistani Christian have had to go into hiding after her husband was sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Marilyn Asif and her four young children have had to flee after her husband, Asif, was falsely accused of sending blasphemous text messages in 2013.