Pakistan’s Christians are denied food aid during COVID-19 lockdowns

Food aid is being denied to Hindus and Christians amid the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) denounced.

Social distancing measures don’t help many Christians, who labor every day for their daily food needs. Without work, these people need food distribution to survive.

Jonathon, a Christian worker focused in Pakistan, says, “It doesn’t appear that these are the official policies of particular organizations. These are overly zealous workers that are telling people, ‘Oh, you need to recite the Muslim creed.’ Or, ‘You should become a Muslim . . . we’re not going to give you food unless you become a Muslim.’ [Those things] have happened.” Jonathon says this kind of discrimination against religious minorities is common in Pakistan. 

Many have been denied access to this food. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned the rejection of Christians and Hindus for food aid in Pakistan.

USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore added, “In a recent address by Prime Minister 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.”