In the wake of the Coronavirus crisis which is ravaging the world, Christians in Pakistan which has recorded nearly 2,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 31 deaths are reportedly being denied the emergency response food aid package by NGOs operating in the port city.

According to reports, food vouchers are being refused to members of minority faith groups, and only Muslims were given them.

Farooq Masih, a Christian man from Karachi’s Korongi district, was reported in AsiaNews Catholic media agency as stating that members of the Saylani Welfare International Trust, a charity in the port city, had been handing out food vouchers in his area but when they got to Christian homes they moved on.

Adnan, a Muslim in Karachi, was quoted by AsiaNews stating: “Why did [the NGO] discriminate against Christians? Are they not citizens of Pakistan?

“We are all suffering from COVID-19.”

Father Emmanuel ‘Mani’ Yousaf, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, said that Christians and other minorities – especially labourers on daily wages – were just as badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown as the Muslim majority population.

Father Yousaf, whose Catholic organisation provides legal and paralegal support to Christians and others threatened within injustice, said: “Everybody is affected by the virus, irrespective of religious differences.

“Reports of NGOs discriminating on religious grounds are very sad to hear.

“It shows a very narrow mind set at work.

“Everybody affected should be helped – everybody.”

Father Yousaf said discrimination in the provision of food aid was a recurring problem in Pakistan.