"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," the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner, Anurima Bhargava, said here on Monday.
The USCIRF said it is "troubled" by the reports of food being denied to Hindu and Christian communities in Pakistan amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"These actions are simply reprehensible," Bhargava said.
"We urge the Pakistani government to ensure that food aid from distributing organisations is shared equally with Hindus, Christians, and other religions minorities," she said.
In Karachi, there have been reports that the Saylani Welfare International Trust, a non-government organisation established to assist the homeless and seasonal workers, has been refusing food assistance to Hindus and Christians, arguing that the aid is reserved for Muslims alone.
USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore said that in a recent address to the international community, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has noted that the governments in the developing world are facing the challenge of saving 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," Moore said.
In its 2019 Annual Report, the USCIRF has noted that Hindus and Christians in Pakistan "face continued threats to their security and are subject to various forms of harassment and social exclusion". PTI CPS SCY SCY
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI