Reports from Karachi says that a non-government organization, Saylani Welfare Organisation, that was established to help the homeless and the daily wage workers, has been reportedly refused to distribute food to Hindu and Christians. The organization believes the aid is for the Muslims alone.
Responding to the reports from Karachi, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has termed the incident to be ‘troubling’ and ‘reprehensible.’ The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the Islamic country has been hit severely for the poor and the daily earners. The discrimination on religious ground in times like this has troubled the United States agency. Anurima Bhargava, the Commissioner of USCIRF, on Monday, said,
“As COVID-19 continues to spread, vulnerable communities within Pakistan are fighting hunger and to keep their families safe and healthy, food aid must not be denied because of one’s faith.”
Troubled by the incident of denying food to particular religions, the United States agency urged Islamabad to make sure there is an equal distribution of food among the community. The Commissioner further said,
“We urge the Pakistani government to ensure that food aid from distributing organizations is shared equally with Hindus, Christians, and other religions minorities.”
Organisation believes the aid is only for Muslims
The organization, Saylani Welfare, reportedly believes that the food assistance is exclusively for the Muslim poor and hence is refusing food to other communities, especially Hindus and Christians. In a recent address to the international community, USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken note of the hunger problems in the state and as to how other countries are dealing with the crisis and simultaneously saving the economy. He said,
“This is a monumental task laying before many countries. Prime Minister Khan’s government has the opportunity to lead the way, but they must not leave religious minorities behind. Otherwise, they may add on top of it all one more crisis, created by religious discrimination and inter-communal strife.”
According to its own report in 2019, the USCIRF has noted that the minority community i.e. the Hindus and Christians living in Pakistan have faced continuous threats to life and security as they are subjected to various forms of harassment.