by Russell Board
Thousands of Pakistani Christians gathered in Karachi on December 21st, preparing gifts and costumes, and decorating floats using wagons, trucks, and camels. On the following day, a grand procession passed through the major streets of the capital city, a public celebration of Christmas in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan!
Rev. Asher Mansha leads the IPHC work in Pakistan, which is registered as Christ Holiness Church. Asher served on the organizing committee for this historic event, and he rode with his fellow leaders on the huge truck leading the parade. More than 100 believers, dressed as Santas, passed among the traffic and the crowds sharing holiday greetings and special gifts.
Tragically, several hundred Christians in Pakistan have been killed or injured this year in well-publicized attacks by extremists. The city government approved this Christmas Rally as a public testimony to constitutionally recognized religious freedom, and provided police protection for the event, which by God’s grace was completed without incident.
The rally was promoted on Shine Star TV, a newly established television broadcast ministry founded and led by Asher. The US Consulate General in Karachi posted a report and photos of the event on its Facebook page, and BBC reporter Catrin Nye posted a video on her Twitter account.
In spite of the real climate of danger for believers in many areas of this country, Asher is encouraged by a renewed desire among government authorities to proclaim and protect religious freedom. He and other Christian leaders were invited to a special meeting with the Prime Minister at the President’s House in Islamabad on Christmas Day.
Asher believes that 2017 will provide new opportunities for Christians in Pakistan to show themselves to be a People of Promise creating a Place of Hope in this nation.