US Commission on International Religious Freedom aired its concern on reports of food aid being denied to Hindus and Christians in some parts of Pakistan.” The actions are simply reprehensible,” stated USCIRF commissioner Arunima Bhargav.
As Covid-19 continues to spread, vulnerable communities within Pakistan must not be deprived of benefits. “We urge Pakistan to ensure that food aid from distributing organizations is shared equally regardless of one’s faith.” She further added.
On April 13, USCIRF referred to reports emanating from Karachi that said the Saylani Welfare International Organization, a non-government organization, in operation since 1999, has been handing out aid and meal to homeless people and seasonal workers, in Korangi area. However, they refused to give ration cards to non-Muslims, arguing that the Zakat, Islamic alms giving (one of Islam’s five pillars), is reserved for Muslims only.
A majority of Pakistan’s Hindus minority live in Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.
Following the reports about Hindus and Christians in some part of Karachi being denied food aid, other NGOs such as the Edhi Foundation and JDC welfare organization had delivered rations to members of the two minority communities.
The USCIRF, established in 1998, is an independent, bipartisan, US federal government entity that monitors and reports on threats to religious freedom across the globe.
“Prime Minister Khan’s government has the opportunity to lead the way but they must not leave religious minorities behind, otherwise, they will be adding on top of it all one more crisis,” added USCIRF commissioner Johnie Moore.