The information available at the IRBDC
treats Christians as a homogeneous religious group without
distinguishing between Catholics and non-Catholics. According to
the last available Census (1981), 1.6 per cent of the total
population of Pakistan is composed of Christians (Khan 96-97).
Christians form the single largest minority in the country
(Ibid). The Christian minority is composed of Punjabis and
Goans and the two ethnic groups are different in terms of
ethnicity, culture, language and socioeconomic status
(Ibid). Goans are reported to work mostly as teachers in
Jesuit schools implying that they are catholics (Ibid).
When the army took power in July 1977,
Pakistan became an "Islamic" state and Islamic law was enforced in
all sectors of life and applied to all minorities (Petrén et
al., p.9). Separate electorates for minorities were introduced and
minorities could only vote for minorities from different
constituencies (Khan, Ibid). "This is in keeping with the
fundamentalist Muslim view that considers non-Muslims as
second-class citizens. The minorities are effectively cut off from
the mainstream of national life" (Ibid 105).
According to the U.S. Department of State
Country Reports for 1990, religious minorities in Pakistan
are free to practice their own religion and maintain links with
their members in other countries and to travel for religious
purposes but their political rights are circumscribed (DOS 1534).
Christians reportedly complain of discrimination in the public
service, public corporations, universities, and the military. The
Christians allege that they are relegated to menial jobs in
sanitation and similar municipal services (DOS 1535). Churches have
been attacked since the lifting of martial law in 1986
(Petrén et al., p.9). Punjabi Catholics asked for
de-nationalization of their schools in 1986, since proselytizing by
Muslim directors was then reported (Clévenot, p.261).
For further information on the treatment of
Christians in Pakistan, please refer to the following articles:
"Islamic Polity and the Viability of the
Secular Option", in: Religion and Asian Politics: National
Dialogue - Pakistan, Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia,
"Religion and Politics in Asia", in:
Religion and Asian Politics: National Dialogue - Pakistan,
Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia, 1987.
"Islamization - A Political Perspective",
in: Religion and Asian Politics: National Dialogue -
Pakistan, Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia, 1987.
"Religion & Politics: Inter-faith
Dialogue - A Christian Perspective", in: Religion and Asian
Politics: National Dialogue - Pakistan, Hong Kong: Christian
Conference of Asia, 1987.
Weisman, Steven R.
"The `Islamization' of Pakistan: Still
Moving Slowly and Still Stirring Debate", The New York
Times, 10 August 1986, p.A10.
L'état des religions dans le
monde, Paris and Montréal: La Découverte and Le
"Human Rights in Pakistan and Religious
Minorities in Pakistan", Pakistan: Struggle for Human
Rights: Idara-E-Aman-O-Insaf-Pakistan, International Affairs -
Christian Conference of Asia.
Petrén G., H. Cull, J. McBride et D. Ravindran
Pakistan: Human Rights After Martial
Law, Geneva: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1987.
U.S. Department of State
Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices for 1990, Washington: U.S. Government Printing