Are there Catholics in Pakistan

Pakistan (in the Urdu language it means "land of the pure") was founded in 1947 after the separation of British India, it should be a state on a secular basis. According to the founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the new nation on the Indian subcontinent should be a "country for Muslims", but not a "Muslim country" ruled by Sharia law. Jinnah also wanted to express this in the national flag: In the green national flag (color of Islam) with a white crescent moon and star, there is a vertical white bar on the left edge, which stands for the non-Muslim minorities.

Of the approximately 190 million inhabitants of Pakistan, around 95 percent belong to the Muslim community. Around 75 percent of Muslims are Sunnis and around 25 percent are Shiites. About two to four million people in Pakistan belong to the Ahmadiyya religious community. They see themselves as Muslims, but are not recognized as such by the state. Because according to the Sunni majority opinion, the Ahmadiyya doctrine is considered heretical and is therefore rejected and opposed. The roughly five percent non-Muslims in Pakistan include mainly Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Baha'i, Sikhs and Buddhists.

The trend towards greater Islamization only developed in later years, especially under the dictatorial rule of General Zia ul-Haq, who ruled from 1977 to 1988. The negative consequences of this process can be clearly seen today. The legal system in Pakistan is based on English Common Law, but it is heavily influenced by Sharia law, which is freely applied in some areas. The Constitution guarantees full religious freedom, as can be read in the preamble and in Articles 20, 21 and 22. Nonetheless, Pakistan's constitutional, legal and political structure does not generally treat religious minorities as equal citizens. To name just a few examples from the constitution: Islam is the state religion (Article 2); the head of state must be a Muslim (Article 41.2); the Prime Minister must be a Muslim (Article 91.3); the federal Sharia court has the power to invalidate any law that is contrary to the principles of Islam; it can also propose amendments to the law (Article 203E).

Religious affiliation

96% Muslim
2% Christians
2% others
Detailed information on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and the current situation in the country can be found in our country report "Persecution of Christians in Pakistan" and the general report "Christians in great distress".

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