by Ashiknaz Khokhar
As the Covid-19 pandemic take its huge and horrible impact on world's population. This virus is infecting everyone without discrimination of age, sect, color and religion. Still scientists are trying their best to find the vaccines to cure this virus. Only precautions to safe yourself is to wash your hands, keep social distancing and stay home. We have seen that whole world is effected with this virus and every country is lock down. Daily thousands of people are dying due to this pandemic.
In Pakistan, this COVID-19 is also taking the lead and till now 131,000 are positive corona patients which make Pakistan rank 15th in affected countries list. While this pandemic effect the whole country but poorest population is being felt by hardest time due to food and economical issue. Many charity organizations came forward to help the deserving people at this difficult time but marginalized and poor religious minorities are facing the discrimination to get the charity food package from many organizations. This news take coverage in many newspapers and awake the right faith based organizations to help their people in time of need.
Active Youth Group(AYG), a group of young Christians in Punjab, Pakistan, who is working for the religious harmony, peace, education, youth development and human rights. AYG is offering the services for the poor and discriminated people. Ashiknaz Khokhar, General Secretary of Active Youth Group, told us that first they (Active Youth Group members) started campaign to aware people that how they can keep themselves safe from this pandemic and they distributed the hand pamphlets among the community. They helped the poor and deserving families with food package. They also observed that many people are without shelter and they don't have facility of cooking food. To tackle this issue they started food bank to provide the one time meal in a day to these homeless people. Ashik spoke that in Pakistan, the challenge of COVID-19 can be seen as an opportunity to initiate elimination of all forms of discrimination and stigmatization from our society and replace it with the human rights’ principles of non-discrimination and equality among the citizenry.
Zafar Suneel, president AYG, added that they are providing the food to local community without any discrimination. They are feeling proud that they can help their brothers and sisters at this bad time. He said that they will continue their best part to reach the outreach people with help of their benefactors. They also show their solidarity with front line medical staff who are giving their best to care the patients. AYG visited frontline medical staff, showed their love by flowers, songs and by waving white flag high.
Aneel Shahzad, in charge Fundraising team, tells us that "Right now people are confined to their homes, unable to earn and fulfill their daily needs. Many are day labourers or have lost their jobs. We are amazed to see the response of people as we made call for community help. Many people opened their hearts and pockets to provide the food, stationaries for students, medicine for poor patients and food package for deserving families. This is the best time to preach the humanity and religious harmony.
Fr. Zahid Augustine OP, parish priest, Sacred Heart parish, appreciated the Christian youth of his parish and said that this is the true teaching of Christ to reach the people with message of love and affection. If this Pandemic is not making any discrimination then why we have to make discrimination on basis of faith. We all are sons and daughters of one God and God never wants us to discriminate with our brothers and sisters. This is the message of Gospel to help your neighbour without knowing his faith. I am really proud of my parish youth that they are doing an excellent job and making us so happy and hopeful.