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The history of Christianity in Pakistan is intertwined with the history of Christianity in India. By the time Pakistan gained its independence from India in 1947, Methodism had been established for nearly 75 years. The first Methodist mission in the region began in Karachi in 1873 as ministry to the English-speaking communities of Anglo-Indians and to British army personnel. Later, Methodists reached out to Hindu outcasts in the central Punjab area, resulting in a dramatic increase in Methodist membership.
It wasn’t until Nov. 1, 1970, after 40 years of dialogue, that the Church of Pakistan was founded, the successor body to the British and United States Methodist churches, the Anglican Church, the Norwegian Lutheran Church and the Scottish Presbyterian Church. The current church has eight dioceses: Raiwind, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Sialkot, Hyderabad and Karachi.
While constitutional provisions protect the rights of minorities, Christians often feel vulnerable in this Asian country. Churches, church-run schools and individual Christians have been violently attacked by extremist elements, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Global Ministries supports the Church of Pakistan in its ongoing efforts to deepen interfaith understanding and cooperation. Global Ministries also supports programs that empower women and develop leaders in local communities, ministries on HIV/AIDS awareness, particularly in some sectors of the female population, women’s reproductive rights and health care, and basic health care for women and children living in city slums.