Christians in Pakistan face extreme persecution in every area of their lives. Those who have converted from Islam face the greatest levels of persecution, but all Christians are considered second-class citizens in this strongly Islamic country.

Christians, particularly Christian men, are given jobs perceived as low, dirty and dishonourable, and can be victims of bonded labour. There are some Christians among the middle classes, but they are still considered inferior to their Muslim counterparts and often face severe workplace discrimination.

Christian girls are at risk of abduction and rape, and are often forced to marry their attackers and coerced into converting to Islam.  This is what it means to be at number four in the Open Doors World Watch List.

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are used to target Christians. Islamic extremist groups vehemently ‘defend’ these laws, including attacking or killing those believed to have contravened them. Often these are used to target Christians after a dispute relating to work or tenancy, rather than genuine cases.

Christian churches exist, but those that are active in outreach face severe persecution. Suddenly our own Covid restrictions may feel much less serious.