Saturday, April 11, 2020

Pakistan: More Christian Families Denied Food Aid Amid COVID-19 Crisis

4-11-2020 - A new instance of Christian families being denied food aid during Pakistan's Covid-19 lockdown has emerged (for the previous incidents, see the April 9 article).

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting the new incident in which Pakistani Christians were denied food aid amid the COVID-19 crisis. This marks the fourth incident ICC has documented since Pakistan was place on lockdown by authorities seeking to combat the pandemic.

According to a video post on Facebook, Christians were denied food aid on April 2 in a village situated on the Raiwind road, near Lahore. A local pastor, who wished to remained unnamed, confirmed the incident when contacted by ICC.

In the Facebook video, a young Christian man claims that a local mosque committee distributed foodstuffs on April 2 to deserving families. However, the management asked the village’s Christians to leave the mosque compound because the food aid was meant for only Muslims.

If this is the situation, then what are the arrangements for Christians?” the Christian asked in the Facebook video. “Who is going to feed them? Are we not citizens of the same country?

Denying food aid and discriminating among citizens is a crime,” Aftab Hayat, a Pakistani NGO leader, told ICC. “Christians often face discrimination and are victims of religious hatred. However, the situation for Christians in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis is alarming and becoming worse. Therefore, the authorities must take note of the developing situation.

Since March 21, most of Pakistan has been placed on lockdown as authorities seek to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, this national lockdown has significantly affected the country’s poor and vulnerable communities. This includes Pakistan’s religious minorities.

Approximately 45% of Pakistan’s total population live below the poverty line, earning most of their income through daily labor jobs. The national lockdown has cut off many of these laborers from earning daily wages and reports of starvation are already circulating.

Source: International Christian Concern press release dated 4-9-2020.

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