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Raging conflict affects persecuted Christians in Kurram

August 14, 2023 by Tim Dustin in Persecuted Christians in Pakistan

In July, Kurram was caught up in a violent dispute over property issues between two local parties. A long spell of intense fighting brought Kurram to its knees, but after political intervention, a treaty was made. However, the prolonged violence worsened the already challenging circumstances of the Christian community.

“We haven’t been paid for over twelve months. Even before this stoppage [of fighting], we were only paid half amounts or even less,” says Mumtaz*, a married Christian father of seven. “Our retired employees haven’t received their benefits in two or three years. A few among them have died because of this.”

The Christian community in Kurram consists of 89 families, with the majority of them being sanitation workers. The vulnerable community lives in a small, poorly conditioned sweepers quarters, a residence given to them by the local government. When the recent fighting erupted, Mumtaz and others were left with no choice but to face severe health issues, food shortages and security threats.

In a heart-wrenching plea for support, Mumtaz shares, “We have protested numerous times in front of the press and government offices, but our cries for help seem to fall on deaf ears. We are threatened to abandon our protests or face termination. The weight of survival hangs heavily upon us, as we fear losing our livelihoods and the roofs over our heads.”

As if the lack of salary wasn’t enough, food security in the area has become a major crisis. The community’s economy, heavily reliant on trade with Afghanistan, has stalled as they have halted trade. This is an isolated area, and transport in and out has been blocked. As a result, essential commodities have become scarce, and what is available demands excessive prices.

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Peter Masih, who is a supervisor of Christian workers, shares, “The normal price of a 20-kilogram bag of flour has more than doubled, leaving many families on the brink of starvation. We are trapped in a cycle of deprivation, forced to bear the burden of surging costs. These prices are beyond the buying capacities of our people. Our community members are drowning in debt, enduring humiliation from those who already discriminate against us,” he shared.

Mumtaz and other Christian families deal with the daily reality of empty bank accounts and cupboards, but they remain hopeful in Christ. Says Mumtaz, “Survival is difficult, but our hope lies in Jesus. When in pain, my family and I sit together and sing Psalm 20: ‘May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you … Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.’ The Word of God gives us courage for survival in this time of trouble.”

Let’s pray for Mumtaz and the other Christian families who are struggling in Kurram.

Lord Jesus, we ask You would bring peace and provision to the Kurram district. Supernaturally support their financial needs and make a way for a permanent solution to the financial woes they face. Give them courage and resources for generating alternative means of earnings. Warm their hearts and continue to cultivate their faith in You. Amen. 

*Representative name and photo used to preserve security

About The Author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry whose mission it is to amplify the voices of Christian persecution and help vulnerable believers so they can spread the gospel and advance the Great Commission. You can learn more by visiting our website at GlobalChristianRelief.org.