Coronavirus: Karachi NGO denies food to poor Hindus and Christians
by Shafique Khokhar

The Saylani Welfare International Trust was founded in 1999 to support homeless people and seasonal workers. For Muslim, turning non-Muslims away goes “beyond the limits”. Hindu lawmaker donates her salary to emergency fund.


Karachi (AsiaNews) – A Karachi NGO has denied food aid to poor Hindus and Christians, who like Muslims are suffering from coronavirus.

In Pakistan, the number of coronavirus cases now stands at 1,664 with 21 deaths. The conditions of the poor are cause for great concern.

Due to government travel restrictions, many day labourers lost the only source of livelihood for their family. Various government and local organisations have tried to help them.

The Saylani Welfare International Trust has been operating in the Korangi area since 1999, handing out aid and meals to homeless people and seasonal workers.

Two days ago, the welfare organisation refused to give ration cards to non-Muslims, saying that only Muslims are entitled to them.

The reason for this is that Zakat, Islamic alms giving (one of Islam’s five pillars), is reserved for Muslims. The Christian man said he begged for food to no avail.

Farooq Masih, a 54-year-old Christian in Korangi, said that last Saturday, Abid Qadri, a member of Saylani Welfare, with other NGO members, handed out food cards in his area. But, when they got to Christian homes, they just moved on.

Adan, a Muslim who lives in the same area, is outraged by the NGO's attitude. “Why did they discriminate against Christians? Are they not citizens of Pakistan? They have gone beyond the limits. This act is not acceptable from an association that claims to serve humanity. We are all suffering from COVID-19.”

Mangla Sharma, a Hindu Member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly, donated her March salary to the coronavirus emergency fund created by the Chief Minister.

For her, “We must focus only on people, on the poor of our nation. Otherwise, only one religious community will benefit. We must all be united at this critical moment and help everyone regardless of faith, creed or language. We must act immediately as one nation and put differences aside.”