By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Some 2,000 Christians in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, many of whom were evicted from their homes, face the prospect of “dying from dehydration, infection or the cumulative effects of poverty” Christian aid workers told BosNewsLife Thursday, August 20.
At least two people have already died, “despite being only ten minutes from health centres” in the 43 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) heat, said Christian aid group Barnabas Fund.
“Local doctors and experienced news correspondents are shocked by the appalling conditions being endured by some 2,000 Christians in downtown Islamabad” the group added.
The Christians are on the streets because around 214 Christian families were promised land in the Chak Shahzad district of Islamabad. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) of Islamabad arranged their move and told families to set up tents there until possession had been finalised, several reports said.
However, “three months ago the CDA changed their minds forcing the Christian families to live in the road amidst squalid conditions, where their only water supply runs all too close to an open pit latrine and a waste dump,” Barnabas Fund said. “There are up to 20 people sharing one tent, which only adds to the discomfort.” CDA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Local Christians and aid workers say Christians “are discriminated against by the majority population, so nothing has been done to help them.”
Barnabas Fund said it has been able to secure a way to provide practical aid to the families now. “This aid will take the form of food items including rice, lentils, onions and cooking oil for each affected family, as well as buckets and water containers to reduce the risk of typhoid affecting the tightly packed camp.”
“Our brothers and sisters in Islamabad are in dire need of material assistance to prevent disease ravaging their already stricken camp,” said Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund.
He said his organization has urged Christians to participate in the project. A whole family can be supported for roughly 57 dollars per month, according to Barnabas Fund estimates.