…to this day the Christian community remains in the poorest sector of Pakistani society, consigned to menial jobs. Entire villages in parts of Punjab are Christian, with inhabitants working as labourers and farmhands.
There are sections of Pakistan’s Christian community that are well off and they came over from Christian Goa under the Raj, are more educated and mainly settled in Karachi. Many of their descendants still work in the corporate sector.
What all of them share is a sense of vulnerability with a number of the wealthier Christians leaving to settle in Canada and Australia as the climate of intolerance in Pakistan becomes more unbearable – and if some Muslims are thinking of leaving, Christians and other minorities will feel the pressure more acutely.
Pre-partition Pakistan was a much more diverse place and levels of tolerance have declined as Pakistani society has been increasingly Islamicised and more homogenous.
Pre-partition Christians could count themselves among minorities that made up 15% of the population. Now minorities fall short of 4% of the country. And with the introduction of Islamist militancy, their situation is that much more urgent.