By BosNewsLife Asia Service reporting from Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Suspected Islamic militants have killed three American Christian aid workers who were helping victims of Pakistan’s worst floods in recent memory, a well-informed source in the Pakistani military told BosNewsLife Saturday, August 28.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the exact details surrounding the killings in the country’s volatile north-western Swat valley. He said Pakistan’s military recovered the bodies of the relief workers in Swat valley Wednesday, August 25, shortly after they were kidnapped. The human remains were brought to the United States embassy, he said.
The names of the victims and their organization have not yet been released publicly due to security concerns and “not to create panic” among foreign aid workers, the source added. Additionally, under standard procedures, close relatives were expected to be informed first about the victims’ identities. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad refused to confirm or deny the report, saying it had no more information.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings, but the Taliban threatened to attack international relief workers, calling the presence of foreigners in Pakistan “unacceptable.”
A senior Pakistani official confirmed to BosNewsLife that the three foreign aid workers had been kidnapped by the hard-line Islamic group Monday, August 23.
“The foreign aid workers had been working in [the city of] Mingora and the surrounding areas. While they were returning to their base on August 23 fighters of the Taliban attacked their vehicle,” said Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman. “They injured around five or six people and kidnapped three foreign humanitarian workers,” he added.
The reported killings of the aid-workers is aimed to further undermine efforts by the international community to reach the estimated nearly 22 million people affected by the flooding, suggested government official Rehman. “The Taliban are also trying to support the flood victims and many other banned organizations have setup camps in for instance the south of Punjab province to support the victims. They use aid to increase support for their goals,” he said.
There is some precedent in attacks against foreign aid workers. Pakistani Taliban carried out a suicide attack against the office of the United Nations World Food Program in Islamabad last October, killing five staffers, and in March, militants stormed the offices of World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian aid group helping earthquake survivors in northwestern Pakistan, killing six Pakistani employees.
Special forces have been deployed in Swat valley and other potential target areas to protect relief efforts, the military said.
However many people, including minority Christians, receive little or no aid from Pakistani authorities or other groups, complained Rizwan Paul, who leads the Christian aid and advocacy organization Life for All. “In Punjab province the Christians are ignored in the severely damaged areas. Christians even face problems in United Nations-administered camps.”
He said there are reports that Christians are not given tents, clean water and food. “In most of the camps the Christians have totally been ignored. In some regions, including Muzzaffargarh and Layyah, Christians are forced to live on damaged roads in temporary tents as they were not allowed in the government camps.”
He said Life for All had complained to United Nations agencies about the alleged discrimination of Christians in the aid distribution. “So far they have not yet responded.” Additionally, authorities have been reluctant to help Christians evacuate, he claimed. “In Sindh Province, where the Thatta area was flooded, around 300 Christian families were prevented from moving to more safe areas in Punjab province.” Officials in charge of the operation could not immediately be reached for comment.
Another Christian advocacy group, Peace Pakistan , also warned that the Muslim observation of the fasting period Ramadan makes it more difficult to reach many children, the elderly and sick people with medicines, water or food.
“They are now allowed to eat or drink anything all day. However those leading the relief camps should take under consideration that these weak people should be given water, food and medicines on time as many diseases are spreading at a vast scale,” the group said in a statement.
There are worries about additional flooding as meteorologists predict more rains the coming days at a time when about 20 percent of the country is already under water.
Yet, Life for All Vice President Kashif Mazhar suggested there was some hope beneath the dark clouds in the relative few Christian-run relief camps.
“In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province the situation is comparatively better as there are Christian camps as well and the local Garrison Church in the Risalpur area is also supporting the victims,” he explained. “It is encouraging to see that Christian organizations are wholeheartedly supporting the victims regardless of the religion or race…”
Christians comprise less than five percent of the heavily Muslim population of nearly 175 million people, according to estimates by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (With BosNewsLife Correspondents in Pakistan and editing by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos. Due to security concerns BosNewsLife’s reporters could not be identified by name).
rubbish. by spreading rumours like this you only make life more difficult for already stressed victims in pakistan. No such event happened, bosnewlife and christian post are only two outlets pushing this rumour.
We do not base our information on rumours (we never do) but on a direct source within the military. Besides Christian Post other news agencies, including Compass Direct News are also reporting the deaths of the Christian aid workers.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
Pull all Christian Relief workers from Indonesia and Pakistan, and put them in other countries in need of assistance. The EU and USA need to declare these countries unsafe and they should not issue any travel visas
Reason, do you sympathise with murderers? get your fact right, dhimmi.
At mass today, a man asked for prayers as his daughter is a Catholic Charities (relief) worker in southern Pakistan. Foodstuffs and medicines were confiscated by Muslim men who told the group to leave. There were some police supervising the workers but they stood by and allowed this.
Sound the alarm. If the government of Pakistan desires the Christian’s aid, then it is the government’s obligation and the citizens of Pakistan’s obligation to guarantee the protection of our Christian aid workers; obviously, this government, as their past and recent record shows, does not desire to guarantee the protection of Christians, and has not desired to cooperate under these terms.
This is outrageous. What this amounts to is feeding your enemy, strengthening them and assisting them to defeat you. Biblically speaking, Jesus instructed as He warned His followers about this in the Gospel of Matthew 7:6, using a “casting your pearls before swine” illustration.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The meaning of this parable is fairly easy to figure out. The dogs and swine are those who are unappreciative of what you bring them. Those who follow the teachings of Christ are not to persist in offering what is sacred or of value, in this case humanitarian aid, to those who do not appreciate it and only want to destroy you and your way of life, because your gift is unappreciated and despised by those on the receiving end.
While those who follow Christ have an obligation to be good Samaritans, there is also a responsibility for Christians to be wise as serpents and use discernment with our gifts offered to others in need of help. Because of our eagerness to be good stewards and help others in need, Christians very often fail to recognize the traps set by the enemy, and that it is often not a good stewardship example to waste our precious God given resources for those will turn against us, as in this case.
If Jesus said use discernment, use discernment! If Jesus said don’t cast your pearls before swine, he meant what he said.
As sad as this is, there is a lesson to be learned for the Christian aid worker and the lesson is don’t go to an Islamic country where you are not wanted or appreciated, and may likely be murdered; but rather, go to where you are badly needed and will be appreciated and stay alive to continue your work for our Lord Jesus Christ.
You are the one who is spreading rumors.
You are the one who is trying to discredit what christinas ara going through in a country dominated by a murderous religion.
Get a grip, you idiot.
These people should be given no help by the West. Allah will look after them in the way that he, she or it usually does; some will survive and some won’t. It’s all up to the will of Allah after all … for those of us in the West to interfere, we are maligning Allah.
Sounds like hearsay to me. Articles like this do nothing but arouse emotion and tribalism. From what i see in pics that a large portion of the country is hurting and hundreds of thousands are in pretty dire conditions. Its not like chaos breeds civility. Id imagine its push and grab to get stuff or don’t get anything. In situations like that im sure any persecution complex that is there will be exploited by the media or others. Also was that the name of the organization, “Christian American aid”? I find that to be unprofessional. Foreign aid works or even just aid workers would have been fine. Adding the “christian” qualifier does not give any extra information besides to help an emotional read develop or reinforce a prejudice. (and besides they might have been eastern orthodox, mormon, catholic, baptist, or jehova witness, which of course wouldnt really be “christian”)
Stefan – that’s why none of the major news agencies reported the same thing – yeah.
Several other media have meanwhile been reporting on the deaths of the workers; we were the first news agency however to quote the military saying they were Americans.
Stephan, I have been trying to find additional information on this. (I have no interest in the debate in these comments, just looking for confirmation.) Do you know which agency they were with? I did find several of agencies reporting it, but no major secular. Do you have any additional information?
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