Pray for flood victims in Pakistan!
- Flooding was and continues to be a huge disaster. It is important to pray.
- Millions of people affected.
- Food and disease problems take a huge toll, even years later.
- It will be less if people pray.
Pakistan means, “Land of the Pure” or “The Holy Land”.
Formed in 1947 as a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent, its primary identity is religious rather than ethnic or historical. The largest single ethnic group are the Punjabis (80 million) from the rich agricultural province of Punjab, but the Pushtun, Baluch and Sindhi communities are also significant in size and influence. Urdu, the national language, is the mother tongue of only a minority of peoples within the nation.
This diversity is at the root of growing tensions within Pakistan and in recent years it has resulted in rising levels of both ethnic and sectarian (especially Sunni vs. Shia) violence. The inability of the various groups to live together in peace under the banner of Islam has caused many to question the ideological basis of the country. This was especially seen in the subdued way in which people commemorated 50 years of independence in 1997.
Bondages in Pakistan
The dissatisfaction with what Pakistan has become; e.g. rampant corruption, drug addiction and violence in “the land of the pure”, has opened the door for Islamic fundamentalists to offer their solution to the social problems through an Islamic revolution. This has tended to make the already beleaguered Christian minority even more apprehensive. Yet despite of the growing influence of fundamentalism, Pakistanis today, especially the educated, are more open to consider other options than at any time since the formation of the country.
Religiously, Islam in Pakistan venerates the person of Mohammed to an extent that comes close to the Islamic definition of idolatry. The “blasphemy law”, which forbids demeaning God or his prophets, has been used predominantly as a means to settle scores, both against other Muslims and against minorities, including Christians. Yet under the surface of official Islam there lies a world of bondage to charms, spirits and the “evil eye”.
Pray for the Muslims in Pakistan:
* Pray that the growing undercurrents of dissatisfaction will not erupt into widespread violence but open their hearts to new options, especially the Gospel.
* Pray for the Pakistani church, historically small, weak and divided, to be renewed and set on fire with a vision for ministry to their neighbours. Pray for literature and other resources to be produced in the heart languages of the people.
* Pray that the power of folk-Islam, including the power of charms, curses and amulets, would be broken and that people would be free to respond to the Gospel.
Background on Pakistan (World Factbook)
The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples.
The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 – in which India capitalized on Islamabad’s marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics – resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions.
Economy of Pakistan
Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, has suffered from decades of internal political disputes, low levels of foreign investment, and a costly, ongoing confrontation with neighboring India. Record floods in July-August 2010 lowered agricultural output and contributed to a jump in inflation, and reconstruction costs will strain the limited resources of the government. Textiles account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings.
Population: 190,291,129 (June 2012 est.) World rank #6
Life Expectancy at Birth: 65.99 years. World rank #166
Ethnic Groups: Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhagirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%
Religions: Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shia 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%
Languages: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski and other 8%
Literacy: 54.9% — Male: 63%, Female: 36%
School life expectancy: 7 years
People and Power – Pakistan Video
A report from Baluchistan, where nationalists struggle for greater control over their region’s natural resources