The region of today's Pakistan has been the site of the Indus Valley civilization, and has been occupied by the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, and later the Arabs, Turks, and Moghuls. With the Arabs came Islamization, and the foundation of Islamic rule. The territory was colonized by the British in the 19th century and became part of British India. The independence of India in 1947, and the partition of the sub-continent that followed, resulted in the creation of Pakistan con- sisting of two parts, on the western and eastern sides of India. In 1971, Eastern Pakistan separated and became Bangladesh. Pakistan has been ruled by both democratic and military governments. Relationships with India have always been tense, because of the unresolved problem of the Punjab. Pakistan has traditionally been allied with the West, and has supported the USA in their fight against the Talibans and terrorism, but is facing internal problems with radical Islamic movements. The economy is based on agriculture and manufacturing industry. The majority of the population depends on subsistence farming and is poor. Pakistan is an Islamic Republic since 1956. The Christians are a small minority. Christianity reached the area as early as the 8th century, but churches were not estab- lished until Catholic and Protestant missions arrived in the 19th century. In 1970 the Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and part of the Presbyterians, united to form the Church of Pakistan. There are several Presbyterian, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. The National Council of Churches is the ecumenical body, the Evangelical Fellowship is affiliated with the WEA.
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Ecumenical solidarity visit to Pakistan
Religious freedom and interreligious dialogue were on the agenda of a "Living Letters" visit to Pakistan from 24 November to 1 December 2008. Read more...