Christians represent 2,5 percent of the population of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Under the tense and repressive climate created by the imposition of Sharia law, they suffer a social segregation that greatly restricts their opportunities for employment and are forced to live in segregated ghettoes. Out of a fear of sectarian violence, religious observances in the seven Catholic dioceses scattered throughout the country are carried out beneath the watchful eyes of armed volunteers.
The tense atmosphere is especially aggravated by Sharia law 295, which concerns blasphemy and stipulates penalties ranging from a three-year prison sentence to capital punishment for offences against religious beliefs. The right to accuse another person of blasphemy has become a weapon in the hands of Moslems seeking to settle personal disputes with Christians, many of who have become innocent victims of false testimony. Various individuals have attempted to modify this law at the perils of their lives, the most prominent example being Shabaz Bhatti, a Catholic who was appointed Minister of Minority Affairs in 2008 only to be assassinated by religious extremists on March 2, 2011.
Marco Gualazzini was born in 1976. He began to work as a photojournalist for the Italian newspaper Gazzetta di Parma at the age of 28, after pursuing studies in historic preservation.
In 2006 he began to work as a photojournalist with the ANSA Press Agency.
Gualazzini’s photographs have appeared in many major Italian newspapers, including Corriere della Sera, Il Giornale, La Stampa and L’Avvenire, as well as in magazines such as M (Le Monde magazine), Internazionale, Io Donna (Corriere della Sera), Sette (Corriere della Sera), Diario, Economy, Focus, Africa and Ode (A Dutch magazine). His work has also been featured on the website foto.8.com.