Pope Francis is set to visit Pakistan this year after accepting an invitation from the country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to the Pakistani government.
News of the visit was confirmed by the Vatican on Wednesday, local Pakistan media reported.
The invitation was reportedly passed on by Pakistan’s minister for religious affairs, Sardar Yusuf, and Kamran Michael, the ports and shipping minister, during a meeting with the Pope in Rome, as part of a high-level delegation.
The head of the Catholic Church also offered prayers for the South Asian nation and its citizens, who have been killed by terrorism.
Christians makeup about 1.6% of Muslim-majority Pakistan’s population, and have been targeted in the past, particularly under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.