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Christianity in South and Central Asia$
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Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, and Todd M. Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439824

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439824.001.0001

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(p.107) Pakistan
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Mehak Arshad

Youshib Matthew John

Edinburgh University Press

Pakistan culminated from the concept that religion is the main denominator identifying and unifying Muslims in the subcontinent, and therefore Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nations. Christians strongly supported the Muslim League in its pursuit of a separate homeland. Through the historical influence of Christian missions there were 3,912 ‘native’ Christians by 1881, and by 1941 this number had increased to 511,299 in Central Punjab. The largest church in the country is the Catholic Church (Latin rite). In 1970 the Church of Pakistan brought together Anglicans, Methodists and some Presbyterians, each with an extensive network providing education, healthcare and pastoral care. Other denominations in Pakistan include the Salvation Army, Pentecostals, Full Gospel Assemblies, Adventists, among others. However, Christians in Pakistan today are maligned, regarded as part of the lowly ‘sweeper community’, with a small number of seats reserved for them in politics. Christians are threatened by the Blasphemy Law, meant to safeguard Islam. At least 700 girls are kidnapped annually and forced to marry Muslims. Nevertheless, the Christian community has demonstrated vitality; with thousands studying in Christian schools and many receiving medical care from Christian hospitals, the Christian community remains committed to engage positively in inter-faith dialogue.

Keywords:   Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Pakistan, Tolerance

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