Islamic Republic of Pakistan
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By the second millennium B.C. the area presently known as Pakistan had already developed elaborate irrigation systems that allowed for early civilizations based upon farming. The whole of Pakistan is drained by the Indus River and its tributaries eventually emptying into the Arabian Sea. The waters of this basin feed into one of the largest irrigation systems in the world, irrigating a total of 13 million hectares (32 million acres). Situated between India and Afghanistan, Pakistan also shares shorter borders with Iran and China. The total area of the country is almost 804,000 sq km (310,000 sq miles) with a population of over 138,000,000 people. After separation from India in 1947, Pakistan was two widely separated territories known as West and East Pakistan. In 1971 East Pakistan achieved independence as Bangladesh. In 1973 Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan) entered into a program of “Islamic socialism” in which much finance, education and heavy industry was nationalized. Since that time military and civilian rule have alternated accompanied by varying degrees of violence and disorder.
Approximately half of the population of Pakistan works on the land producing abundant cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane and other fruits and vegetables. Illegally cultivated opium and cannabis are also widespread. Despite the large areas of arable lands less than 25% of the national income is now derived from agriculture. Karachi in the south and Lahore in the north are considerable manufacturing centers, particularly in the area of textiles. Other industry includes petroleum products, construction materials and paper products. The country also has large undeveloped reserves of minerals such as copper, bauxite, phosphates and manganese. While rich in resources and with a strong economic base Pakistan still suffers from chronic trade deficits and debt burden because of massive funding of the military and nuclear weaponry. The government is an Islamic Republic with two legislative bodies known as the Senate and the National Assembly. Less than three percent of the population claims any religious affiliation other than Islam with 77% of the population being of the Sunni sect and 20% being Shi’a sect.
For that small percentage of the Pakistani population which claims the Christian faith life can be very dangerous and subject to persecution. Despite this fact there is a small but growing presence of the Stone-Campbell Movement within the Islamic Republic. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada financially support the National Council of Churches, Pakistan through Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan and are involved in a Christian Study Center. Initial Disciples’ involvement in this work began in 1955.
The American a cappella Churches of Christ have been active in Pakistan for some time through such workers as J.C. Choate, Parker French, Gordon Hogan, Charles Jones, Wayne Newcom in Lahore and Jim Waldron in Karachi. The Churches of Christ in Pakistan operate in five circuits, some tied to American workers and others with native preachers. Hadayat H. Din is a native of Pakistan who learned of the a cappella Churches of Christ and was converted to Christianity with a student at Indiana University in the United States. Upon returning home he was able to convert his wife and children and began to preach in his home of Sialkot. In 1987 Din formed a preachers’ training program and later a Basic Medical Aid program to help the sick. By 1993 an estimated 500 persons had been baptized into Christ but anti-Christian pressure is said to have caused about half of these to return to the Muslim faith. Presently there are an estimated 25 Churches of Christ congregations with approximately 250 members.
Among the American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ are those who support the work of Saleem and Naylah Massey and the Pakistan Christian Evangelical Services (PCES). Saleem was born in Pakistan and is a graduate of Cincinnati Bible Seminary in the United States. He returned to Pakistan in 1989 and began PCES with an effort in planting Christian churches in Lahore. Since that time Saleem has planted eight congregations which today have a combined membership of 3,000. Many of these congregations also provide Christian schools for the children of their communities. From time to time PCES holds medical camps at different congregations to heal the physically sick and provide free medication. These medical camps are often conducted with the aid of visiting medical teams from the United States. Every May PCES hosts a leadership camp in Murree Hills to offer aid to the PCES-planted congregations. Speakers for these camps are often drawn from the ministries’ supporters in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. One goal of PCES is to build substantial church buildings for its congregations in prominent locations as a witness in their respective communities. A Sewing Machine Center and Adult Education Center were opened in Khadim in June of 2003. Saleem Massey works with the congregations preaching, teaching, guiding the pastors and encouraging the congregations. He also teaches at the Central Bible College and has written a book “Fundamental Beliefs of Christian Faith” in Pakistani-Urdu. A hymnal has also been produced in Pakistani-Urdu, “Christian Evangelical Hymns.” Both books are presently waiting funding for publication.
Other Christian workers active in Pakistan include Pastor Albert Naseem, also of Lahore, who reported to the World Convention office of an evangelistic crusade on May 29, 2003 in which more than one hundred people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Another Christian worker is Brother Yaqub Masih of Lahore and Christ for Pakistan Church Ministries. One avenue of outreach pursued by this ministry has been through conventions and conferences, particularly at Christmas and Easter. In 2004 they plan at least three “Journey of Joy” encouragement conferences for the wives of pastors, elders deacons and other female Christian workers. An estimated 700 are expected to attend these conferences.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
A cappella Churches of Christ
Hayadat H. Din
P.O. Box 1178
Sialkot (1) 51310 Pakistan
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ
Pakistan Christian Evangelical Services
Model Town, Lahore, 54700, Pakistan
In the United States:
contact the Newsletter editor,
contact PCES Representative
Christ for Pakistan Church Ministries
Harding Graduate School, Memphis, Tenn., announced in April that it has honored Hadayat and Shakuntla Din, missionaries to their own people in Sialkot, with the Hadayat and Shakuntla Din Endowed Scholarship Fund. Earnings from this fund will be awarded to students who plan to do mission work in Pakistan, explained Larry Arick, director of advancement. Din is sponsored by the North Central congregation, Bloomington, Ind.-Christian Chronicle
Prayers, funds sought for Pakistan flood victims
ERIK TRYGGESTAD | The Christian Chronicle
A Conversation with Hadayat Din, Christian Chronicle – add link when available