In Pakistan, Christians are subject to mistreatment, violence that often goes unpunished

Naseem Nawab is a Pakistani Catholic nurse who has worked at a hospital in Karachi since 2008. She told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about a beating she received this summer at the hands of two Muslim colleagues at the hospital. It is an example of a consistent pattern of discrimination and persecution suffered by Pakistani Christians.

“On August 3rd [2019] I went downstairs at the end of my shift and found Ambreen and Alia, fellow staff members, waiting for me. They immediately began to beat me. They threw me on the floor, kicked at my back, and pulled my hair. They only stopped because another nurse on duty intervened.

“They had come after me because I had objected to the treatment of a second-year nursing student, a Christian girl named Mishal. When I told them not to bully her, they asked why I was interfering with someone in their ward. They told me she was their responsibility. More than a month later, they have not admitted that this was the cause of my beating—nor have they been disciplined by hospital management despite the fact that I lodged a formal complaint, nor has the police done anything.

Portait of Naseem Nawab,a Pakistani Catholic nurse working at a hospital in Karachi since 2008. She received a beating she this summer at the hands of two Muslim colleagues at the hospital after she had objected to the treatment of a second-year nursing student, a Christian girl.
Portait of Naseem Nawab,a Pakistani Catholic nurse working at a hospital in Karachi since 2008. She received a beating she this summer at the hands of two Muslim colleagues at the hospital after she had objected to the treatment of a second-year nursing student, a Christian girl.

”I love Pakistan. My family is here, and I have a good, respectable job. But for Christians, it is not safe. Reports of discrimination and forced conversion have only increased, and I fear being punished for my faith. I fear that my children are in danger. I always tell them: do not go anywhere alone.

“We cannot worship freely. The path to St. Jude’s, our local church, is lined with people who taunt us, even follow us. And private worship, too, is nearly impossible: to save money, we live at the hospital, where our prayers are considered a disturbance, and there was once an attempted rape at the hospital, involving an assault of Muslim young men on a Christian woman. We must be cautious.

“But despite this, I know that God is on my side, and I am comforted by His presence. I have the Bible on my phone, and I read it when I am afraid, especially Psalms 23 and 121. And I pray constantly.

“I pray for peace in Pakistan and that the West will protect us from the ongoing violation of human rights. I pray that those in power will use their resources wisely. I pray that my children will lead long, full lives.”

Last year, ACN supported more than 60 projects in Pakistan, including the construction of churches and the formation of sisters and other religious.

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