On December 22nd, a lay pastor in the Charar area of Lahore shared a faith-based post on Facebook that some local Muslims considered blasphemous. When he realized the response, Pastor Raja Waris apologized, and it appeared that the issue was resolved. However, word spread throughout the community and hundreds of Muslims began protesting, demanding that Pastor Raja be beheaded.
In the midst of these demonstrations, it was revealed that some of the protestors planned to set fire to the homes of Christians. Hundreds of threatened community members fled the area for safety. On December 28th, Pastor Raja was handed over to police custody where he remains. At last report, no charges have been laid.
Police were deployed to Charar and the displaced Christian families have since been able to return to their homes after receiving assurances that there will be no violence committed against them. For more information on the persecution frequently faced by Christians in Pakistan, go to the country report.
Please pray for the safety of Christians residing in Charar, asking the Lord to minister His peace not only in their troubled community but also within their anxious hearts. May His Holy Spirit mediate on behalf of Pastor Raja, providing him mercy and vindication among his accusers and safe release from detainment. Pray that the demonstrators will be touched by God's wonderful love, cease from their protests, and take positive steps to promote unity among all of Pakistan's various people groups.