This Sunni majority country is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Its government and military leaders struggle to control domestic insurgents, many of whom are located in the tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan. Pakistan has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, behind Indonesia and India. The country suffers from chronic sectarian and religiously motivated violence. Pakistan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the USCIRF since 2002.
Though the constitution guarantees religious freedom, Christians increasingly suffer under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. One law stipulates that any person who defiles the name of the prophet Muhammad or the Quran may be punished by life in prison or death. In one well publicized case, blasphemy charges against a 12-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, who is mentally challenged, were dropped for lack of evidence in November 2012, but only after she was imprisoned for four months. Another case that has garnered international attention involves Asia Bibi, a 41-year-old Christian who in 2010 became the first woman in Pakistan's history to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. In June 2013, she was transferred to a prison much farther away from her family, raising security concerns for her family. Churches in Pakistan are frequently vandalized, and Christians are beaten, raped, abducted and murdered with impunity. Christians also face discrimination in employment and education, keeping them entrenched in the lower classes.