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Published on 06 October, 2010

Relief groups concerned about Taliban threat in Pakistan

Pakistan (MNN) — Another supply tanker was attacked yesterday in Pakistan, raising more concern for convoys taking supplies to troops and providing relief to flood victims. The attack on the tanker was the second attack in as many days. Monday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least three people and destroyed nearly 30 vehicles.

While these attacks seem to be focused on resupply vehicles, relief workers in Punjab Province, Pakistan, are concerned that attacks will affect their relief to flood victims.

While they're concerned, Pete Howard with Food For the Hungry, who works with their relief unit, says, "We try to keep our focus on why we're there. Over 15 to 20 million people are affected [in an area] the size of Italy. And so we can spend our time focusing on the dangers, or we can spend our time on the people who have needs."

Local police have provided protection for their relief supplies. Food For the Hungry has been able to provide "temporary shelter, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, and clean water to probably 20,000-25,000 people, and that work continues daily," says Howard.

He says there have been threats and warnings of danger. One Pakistani staff member told Howard, "I'm praying for you, and I'm praying for us daily because there are bad people out there who don't like having you foreigners here and said 'I can't guarantee you protection.' But I will do everything I can to protect you."

The fact that Food For the Hungry is a Christian ministry isn't a secret. "As we respond in Pakistan, I find lots of opportunities to break down barriers between Muslims and Christians and to have many good discussions about faith and show that Christians really do care."

The need in Pakistan is desperate. However, few people have responded to the need. Howard says, "The flooding in Pakistan has become political, and people think 'us vs. them' and 'why do we want to help Pakistanis, some of whom are part of the Taliban.' I think people are tighter writing checks."

Howard says this should be our wake-up call. "If they were our fellow Americans, or if they were our fellow Haitians, we would respond immediately. If the church–if we–respond to this crisis in Pakistan, we have one of the most incredible opportunities to represent who God is and who Christ is and the Gospel of peace He has given us."

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About Pakistan

  • Primary Language: Urdu
  • Primary Religion: Islam
  • Evangelical: 0.6%
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