Date: November 29, 2017
by Wilson Chowdhry
Pana Medley by several marooned coaches after riots across Pakistan brought the country to a standstill.
Pakistan was in turmoil over the weekend as hundreds of thousands of protesters rioted across the nations cities and villages. The situation reached such dangerous levels that the army had to be called in to bring things back under control. Last night in a dramatic turn of events the Minister for Law whose resignation was the main target of protesters, quit from his post. Even then Pakistan minority communities say they do not feel safe.
Anti-blasphemy demonstrators began the campaign two weeks ago after a firebrand Islamic cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi first called for protests over a change in the electoral oath for lawmakers that once confirmed the finality of the prophet Muhammed. Although no significant change has been made in the Bill regarding Khatm-e-Nabuwat (Finality of the Prophet) with exception of moving it from point number (i) to point number (iii) and changing the wording from ‘solemnly swear’ to ‘declare’, the reaction has been untamed fury. The offence to Muslims in Pakistan was compounded by the statement itself being relegated from first position to third position on the new form.
At least six people were killed and over 250 wounded as law enforcement agencies finally acted under court orders provided to them on Saturday 25th November, to disperse protesters who had camped out at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange for nearly three weeks.
Worse still, demands included the toughening up of existing blasphemy laws, with no chance of leniency for those convicted a nasty turn that may mean that Asia Bibi will be hanged. Our missionary couple Leighton and Pana Medley were caught up in the riots and had to spend 24 hours at a service station that left them a little shook up, but the crises is somewhat over now. Read more (click here). The surrendering of Pakistan's unstable government in this manner and their agreement to release all the rioters arrested without charge and provide them all 1000 rupees compensation to return home, has bewildered the few moderate Muslims in Pakistan. The capitulation of an ostensibly democratic government to the whims of a relatively small Islamic group in Pakistan is of grave concern and is a moment of severe political regression. Please pray for Pakistan where Islamic radicalisation has firmly set roots. Please especially remember Pakistan Christians, including Asia Bibi, in your prayers.