Missionary education in Pakistan, largely controlled by United Presbyterians, United Methodists, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics, is about to change. But the question is how.

A few things are certain. Pakistan’s Muslim government is determined to execute reforms designed to prevent any recurrence of the revolution that ousted President Ayub Khan this spring. Reform proposals are circulating the country and in September will be finalized. Missionaries are aroused over a proposal dealing with foreign missionary schools. It asserts these “tend to spread directly and indirectly the doctrines of religion and culture which are alien to our national values and Islamic concepts of life.”

Further, the proposal is critical because Muslim educators employed by these schools often are not allowed to take part in institutional decision-making.

Debate centers over the proposal’s conclusion: “The policy should therefore aim at nationalizing the institutions”—particularly the meaning of “nationalize.”

Significant is a small exception: “This recommendation should not apply to educational institutions run entirely by Pakistani non-Muslim communities.”

In early July a German press agency reported that missionary organizations working in Pakistan were going to lose all educational institutions that hadn’t been handed over completely to Pakistani leadership. Missionaries would have to give up their work, the release contended.

A Pakistani embassy official in Washington called this “ridiculous,” saying Pakistan doesn’t intend to “take over” the religious schools. His explanation is that the prohibitive cost at these schools allows only the very rich ...

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