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Pakistani Christians and the earthquake

10 October 2005

The recent earthquake caused huge destruction and loss of life in northern Pakistan as well as neighbouring areas of India and Afghanistan. As generous international aid begins to arrive on the scene, Barnabas Fund is appealing for help with the knock-on effects of the earthquake on the Christian minority.

Christians are a despised minority in Pakistan and endure discrimination in many forms. In such a context, Christians are likely to be shunted to the end of the queue, as regards meeting their practical needs after a natural disaster. The December 2004 tsunami and the January 2001 Indian earthquake showed this happening in other contexts where anti-Christian discrimination is commonplace. When the USA attacked Afghanistan in late 2001, Afghan refugees streamed over the border to Pakistan and took the jobs of the Pakistani Christians, leaving them destitute.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund, comments:

"There is a link between persecution, discrimination and disasters. In time of disaster it is often Christian minorities who suffer the most, either because of neglect or because of deliberate discrimination. The Pakistan earthquake will have knock-on effects on Christian communities in the region; earthquake victims are likely to find help for themselves at the expense of the Christians. Therefore we need to be concerned for our Christian brothers and sisters at this time. Whilst they have not borne the brunt of the disaster, they will soon be feeling its effects in other ways."

Barnabas Fund has already received requests for help from Christians in Pakistan. Can you help us to assist our brothers and sisters?