Displaying items by tag: Pakistan

Thursday, 29 September 2022 20:45

Pakistan: malaria and other diseases spreading fast

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods in Pakistan are living in the open, exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards. Despite the efforts of government and relief organisations, families need more food, shelter, medical assistance, medicines, and clean water. Stagnant floodwaters, covering hundreds of kilometres, may take up to six months to recede. There are widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. On 24 September the Sindh provincial government said makeshift health facilities and mobile camps had treated over 78,000 patients in just 24 hours. Malaria spreads quickly around stagnant waters. The UN said malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea patients in large numbers were entering medical camps and hospitals; more medicine and test kits are needed. Families are forced to drink and cook with unsafe water. They need to drink to stay alive.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 09 September 2022 10:21

Pakistan: preaching Christianity ‘not a crime’

The Pakistani Supreme Court has issued a highly significant and welcome ruling, which includes the declaration that the preaching of Christianity ‘is not a crime, nor can it be made into one’. The nine-page ruling is a clear and comprehensive denunciation of the way in which ‘blasphemy’ laws are misused in Pakistan. The court raises issues such as false and malicious accusations, the lack of credible evidence in many cases, and the mob violence with which an accused person is often threatened. One judge said, ‘Many a time false allegations are levelled to settle personal scores, and cases are also registered for mischievous purposes or on account of ulterior motives’.

Published in Praise Reports
Friday, 09 September 2022 09:50

Climate change wakeup call

Pakistan’s floods are a ‘wake-up call’ to the threats of climate change. A sense of injustice is keenly felt. Pakistan contributes -1% of global greenhouse gases but its geography makes it exceptionally vulnerable to climate change. Global warming makes air and sea temperatures rise, causing more evaporation. Warmer air holds more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense. Pakistan also has more glacial ice than anywhere in the world outside of the polar regions and is referred to as the 'third pole'. As the world warms, glacial ice melts. Glaciers in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions are melting rapidly, creating over 3,000 lakes. 33 risk suddenly bursting, which could unleash millions of cubic metres of water and debris, putting seven million people at risk. Glacial lake outbursts are already damaging infrastructure. Climate impact scientist Saeed said Pakistan’s floods are ‘absolutely a wake-up call to governments globally who promised to tackle climate change at successive UN climate conferences’.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:21

Pakistan: flood disaster

On 30 August Pakistan and the UN launched a joint appeal for $160 million to help Pakistan recover from monsoon floods that have put 1/3 of the country under water. On 1 September the UK announced a further £15 million for shelter and essential supplies to over 33 million people. Over 1,100 lives have been lost, whilst roads, crops, homes and bridges have been washed away. Pray for the bereaved to be comforted and the isolated to be rescued. Pray for the immediate needs of water, sanitation, shelter and protection to reach the needy quickly. Pray for help to reach families who must repair their homes and maintain their livelihoods. Pray for communities to be free of diseases carried by polluted water. Pray for the nation to find ways of importing vegetables as it faces serious food shortages in the coming months: it could even consider importing from arch-rival India.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 05 August 2022 09:50

Global: floods

Devastating flash floods have killed 37 people and hundreds are still missing in eastern Kentucky’s worst disaster for decades. The death toll will continue to rise. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed. People are sitting on their porches, hoping somebody is coming to save them. See  In July, Sydney in Australia was hit with a month’s worth of rain in five days; people are still cleaning up three feet of swirling mud. Pakistan has 7,000+ glaciers, but rising global temperatures are causing them to melt rapidly, creating thousands of glacial lakes that might burst and release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, flooding villages in just a few hours. Worsening Indian monsoons cause Mumbai residents to commute on Venetian gondolas and inflatable dinghies. This year residents are being asked to tweet details about floods in their neighbourhoods. The data is then used to issue immediate geographically-specific flood alerts.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 22 July 2022 05:49

Pakistan: Death for blasphemers

Ashfaq Masih is a Christian falsely accused of ‘blasphemy’ and sentenced to death by hanging. He said, ‘Muhammad Irfan came to my shop for wheel balancing for his motorbike. I balanced the wheel and asked for my amount of labour as settled between us. Muhammad Irfan refused to give me money and said he was a follower of Peer Fakhir (a Sufi spiritual guide) and don't ask for money from me. A false FIR (First Incident Report) was made against me. I told the real story to a police officer but he did not record my version but conducted an investigation ex-parte. I neither uttered any derogatory word against Prophet Muhammad nor can think about it.’ The Muslim judge presiding over the case, said that it could not be believed that a Muslim will spin a story in this regard, describing the evidence of Masih's defense team as ‘not believable’. Masih’s is the third death sentence for blasphemy since January.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 23 June 2022 22:00

Pakistan: Christians encounter injustice

Patras Masih was 18 when he was accused of sharing a photo posted on Facebook deemed insulting to Muhammad. This triggered protests by a violent Islamic extremist group who sent hundreds of Christian families fleeing from their homes in Lahore. That was four years ago and the courts still do not want to hear his case because of the involvement of the extremist Muslims. Patras’s lawyer said that the prejudice and discrimination he and his defence team have faced from trial and superior courts is unprecedented in her experience. In the last four years her team has filed five bail petitions in the Lahore High Court, including one last month, and one in the Supreme Court, all without success. Meanwhile on 8 June a court sentenced two brothers to death despite the absence of hard evidence. The unjust persecution of Christians via Pakistan’s blasphemy laws is worsening. See

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 19 May 2022 23:44

Pakistan: pray for Pastor Zafar

Zafar Bhatti, Pakistan’s longest serving blasphemy convict (he has been in prison for ten years) had his life sentence increased to hanging in January 2022 - even though every piece of physical and electronic evidence suggests his innocence. His conviction was based on an unsubstantiated report made by police in the early stages of their investigation, when he was beaten into a false confession. He could be killed any day, and is being denied bail on health grounds despite substantial health concerns. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are evidently being used as a tool for discrimination against a Christian pastor. Staff gave him tablets for diabetes which caused pain and vomit with traces of blood. Doctors changed his medicine and the side-effects stopped. But now (14 May) he has a huge swelling in his left leg, from his feet to the top of his thigh. British Asian Christian Association (BACA) is supporting Zafar and his wife while they suffer the ignominy of this unfounded blasphemy conviction.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 13 May 2022 09:21

Pakistan: vaccination campaign stalling

Health workers in Pakistan are marking children’s fingers as having had a polio vaccination, when in reality parents have refused the vaccine after believing conspiracy theories that they are harmful, blasphemous, or a plot to sterilise Muslims. This is the biggest challenge - to eradicate the crippling virus in one of its last haunts. Deteriorating security along the border is making the situation worse, as militants cross from Afghanistan - the only other country where polio is still circulating. After two years free of polio Pakistan has two poliovirus cases. They were also paralysed, raising further concerns that there may still be hundreds of cases in the region. On average, only one in 200 infections leads to paralysis. Bill Gates, who invests billions in the polio fight, said ‘it would be tragic if the disease made a comeback because it would spread back across the world and eventually you have what you had before 1988 - hundreds of thousands of paralysed children.’

Published in Worldwide

In March the anti-Taliban group NRF started preparing a 2022 spring offensive against the Taliban government. Meanwhile tensions with Pakistan are high due to Pakistan security forces being targeted from Afghanistan. Islamabad has accused Kabul of doing little to stop this. Taliban-affiliated fighters (TTP and ISIL) have for years been operating along the porous border between the two countries, carrying out numerous attacks inside Pakistan. Now Pakistan’s air raids inside Afghanistan in response to the killing of its soldiers have raised tensions even higher. On 27 April the Taliban warned Islamabad of ‘consequences’ after nearly 50 people had been killed by Pakistani air raids in the border provinces. Pakistan has not confirmed being responsible for the raids, but Afghan residents have protested in the streets saying those killed were civilians. IS affiliates have also carried out attacks inside Afghanistan, posing a major security threat to Taliban rule.

Published in Worldwide
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