Amid the testing times when the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic which has taken humanity hostage, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Monday shed light on the troubling reports of "food aid being denied to the minority Hindus and Christians in Pakistan" amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"These actions are simply reprehensible. 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. We urge the Pakistani government to ensure that food aid from distributing organizations is shared equally with Hindus, Christians, and other religions minorities," USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said.
THE USCIRF noted incidents in Karachi where there have been reports of an NGO called Saylani Welfare International Trust established to assist the homeless and seasonal workers has been refusing food assistance to Hindus and Christians, allegedly arguing that the aid is "reserved for Muslims alone".
USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore said: "In a recent address by Prime Minister Khan (Imran Khan) to the international community, he highlighted that the challenge facing governments in the developing world is to save people from dying of hunger while also trying to halt the spread of COVID-19."
"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," added Moore.
In its 2019 Annual Report, USCIRF had noted that Hindus, Christians and other minority religions in Pakistan "face continued threats to their security and are subjected to various forms of harassment and social exclusion."
Pakistan has time and again been exposed over its brutality towards minorities and attacks on them while the Pakistani government keeping its mouth shut on the atrocities on minorities. Besides the latest reports of discrimination over food aid, Pakistan had earlier resorted to attacks on Sikh Gurudwara, kidnapping and forced conversion of Hindu and Sikh girls to Islam and also killing of minorities.