03/30/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On Sunday, March 29, claims of a charity in Pakistan refusing to serve food aid to Christians and Hindus went viral on social media. The story brought into sharp focus the discrimination minorities in Pakistan often face due to their religious identities in the midst of crisis.
News of the discriminatory incident went viral on Facebook after several families posted videos testifying about what happened. According to those testimonies, Christian and Hindu families were refused food aid by Saylani Welfare International Trust staffers who were distributing aid in Karachi in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to reports, Pakistan’s first COVID-19 case was detected in late February when a man in Karachi was tested positive for the virus. This man had recently returned to Pakistan from Iran, a country hit hard by COVID-19.
More than 1,000 Pakistani have now tested positive for the virus with the country reporting 11 COVID-19 related deaths. However, 25 others infected have fully recovered according to local media.
Since March 21, most of Pakistan has been placed on lock down by authorities seeking to slow the spread of the virus. This action has left the country’s poor and vulnerable communities in a state of desperation as their search for food and other necessities.
Due to widespread religious discrimination and intolerance, Christians and Hindus are often treated like second-class citizens in Pakistan. This reality means these communities have been left more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and the nationwide lock down.
“This is a discriminatory and shameful act,” Father Cecil Paul told International Christian Concern (ICC) when asked about the March 29 incident. “Internationally, Christians are providing relief to the world. They do not discrimination against others on the basis of faith, creed, or caste. However, Christians in Pakistan experience faith-based hatred and are often discriminated against.”
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].