Transforming The 10/40 Window Nations Through The Power of Prayer

Pakistan, South Asia

Population: 164,741,924
Political Leader: President Pervez Musharraf
Religions: Islam 96.1%, Christianity 2.3%, Hinduism 1.5%, Other 0.1%
Persecution Ranking: No.17
Number of Terrorist Groups: 32
Acts of Terrorism: 1,070; Casualties: 1,865
Percent of Corruption: 78%
% of People in Poverty: 24%

Location:
Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a republic in South Asia, marking the region where South Asia converges with Central Asia and the Middle East. It has a 650-mile coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast.

Terrorism:
The government of Pakistan is a major partner in the U.S. war on terror. Nevertheless, Pakistan remains a major source of Islamic extremism and a safe haven for some top terrorist leaders. Credible reports estimated that as many as 900 Pakistanis lost their lives in more than 650 terror attacks in 2006, with another 1,500 people seriously injured. Pakistan has experienced attacks from international terror networks such as Al Qaeda and its supporters, as well as violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and militant sub-nationalists. Attacks occurred with greatest frequency in the regions bordering Afghanistan: Balochistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Al Qaida’s continued calls for the overthrow of President Musharraf remained a threat to Pakistan, despite the government's efforts to eliminate Al Qaeda elements. Pakistan continued to pursue Al Qaeda and its allies aggressively through nationwide police action and military operations in the FATA. Despite having approximately 80,000 troops in the FATA, including Army and Frontier Corps (FC) units, the government of Pakistan has been unable to exert control over the area.

Pakistan Army and FC units have targeted and raided Al Qaeda and other militant safe havens in the FATA. In November 2006, a suicide bomber killed 43 Army recruits and injured more than 40 others at a Pakistani military training facility in Dargai, NWFP, in retaliation for raids on Al Qaeda installations. Operations throughout 2006 against both Al Qaeda and Taliban command and control capabilities helped disrupt support for the anti-coalition insurgency in Afghanistan and anti-militant activity in Pakistan.

Pakistani security services cooperated with the United States and other nations to attack terrorism both within Pakistan and abroad. Hundreds of suspected Al Qaeda operatives have been killed or captured by Pakistani authorities since September 2001. Close cooperation between Pakistani, British and American law enforcement agencies exposed the August London-Heathrow bomb plot, leading to the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf and other alleged conspirators connected to the case. Pakistani authorities arrested two suspects in the March 2006 bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, which killed American diplomat David Foy and two others and injured more than 50 bystanders.

Adoption of anti-money laundering legislation consistent with international standards would significantly broaden Pakistan’s ability to cooperate internationally on counterterrorism finance issues.

Religion:
Pakistan is comprised of 96.1% Muslims and only 2.3% of the population are Christians. Pakistan is an Islamic republic. There is growing support for Islamic Shari’a law and discrimination against non-Muslim and Muslim minorities is on the increase. Churches, pastors and Muslim background believers are targets of violence.

Challenges for Christians:
Pakistan is ranked No. 17 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.”

In September 2007, A Pakistani official in a northern district warned female Christian teachers and students to don Islamic garb, citing threats from Taliban extremists active in the area. Christians in the Afghan-border region 120 miles north of Peshawar say that extremists from the Taliban movement, which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1995 to 2001, have targeted them in recent months. Extremists in Swat have conducted a campaign of Islamization in the district against all things deemed un-Islamic since early July, when a government crackdown on militants at the Lal Masjidmosque in Islamabad triggered violent reactions nationwide. The order to cover up under the full-body robe that leaves only the hands and eyes visible may affect Christians at the Catholic-run Public High School in Sangota. The all-girls school had already closed down for a week in September 2007 after being threatened with suicide attacks for supposedly converting students to Christianity.

The all-girls school re-opened its doors on September 17 after a threat letter from Muslim extremists forced it to shut down for a week. Only half of the students returned when the high school reopened its doors on September 17 with assurances of increased security from local officials.

Elsewhere, Christians living in Swat, numbering about 1,000, say they have come under increasing pressure for their faith in recent months. Police increased security around churches and Christian neighborhoods, but the threats were never carried out.

More than 50 Christians fled the town of Charsadda in May after a local Christian politician received a letter telling the Christian community to convert to Islam within 10 days. The threat was repeated, chalked on the wall of a building opposite the church, 10 days later.

Two young men from a local Islamic school eventually confessed to having written the threats as a joke. In an unrelated incident, a Catholic elementary school in Bannu, west of Peshawar, was bombed on September 15. The blast destroyed the chapel windows and furniture, leaving a hole in the side of a classroom wall.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the Pakistan government to remain vigilant against combating terrorism and for legislation to pass that target terrorist finance issues.
  • Pray that God would root out terrorist groups out of Pakistan, so it will no longer be a safe haven for some top terrorist leaders.
  • Pray that the rise of Islamic militant extremism across the Muslim world would not take route in Pakistan and that the government continues to resist terrorist movements.
  • Pray that when the enemy comes against innocent people in Pakistan that the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against the enemy by sending forth weapons from His arsenal in heaven. (Exodus 15:3, 6-7 and Isaiah 59:19)
  • Persecution and intimidation try to keep Christians living in fear. Pray that they would stand firm in the authority of Jesus and have the courage to share their faith despite the troubles they face.
  • Christians from a Muslim background face possible execution under the Shari’a law. Most are too frightened to openly follow Jesus because they would risk their life or rejection from their families. There are could be thousands following Jesus in secret. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray for an end to the conflict with India and for peace for the people living in the Kashmir region.

Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, Compass Direct News, The World Factbook

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