Monday, October 5, 2009
We join the strong global condemnation of today’s suicide attack against the office of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad, Pakistan in which reports are now that five staff members were killed. We also extend our condolences to the families and co-workers of those who were killed today.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated: “This is a heinous crime committed against those who have been working tirelessly to assist the poor and the vulnerable on the frontlines of hunger and other human suffering in Pakistan.”
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran expressed her deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the staff members who were killed or injured in the attack. The victims have been identified as Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi of Iraq, and Mohammed Wahab, Abid Rehman, Gulrukh Tahir, and Farzana Barkat, all of whom are Pakistani nationals. Director Sheeran said: “All of the victims were humanitarian heroes working on the frontlines of hunger in a country where WFP food assistance is providing a lifeline to millions. This is a tragedy – not just for WFP – but for the whole humanitarian community and for the hungry.”
The UN World Food Programme provides vital food assistance to as many as 10 million people across Pakistan, including emergency relief to as many as 2 million Pakistani civilians who were displaced by conflict in the Swat Valley region earlier this year. The agency also supports school meal programmes and targets food assistance at vulnerable groups of people across the country.
According to a news report on the BBC, the suicide bomber may have been associated with the Taliban in Pakistan. The bomber had dressed up as a security guard and approached other security guards, asking to use the bathroom. That is how he gained access to the buidling with his package of explosives, which apparently exploded in the lobby of the building.
This is a shameful act that harms those most vulnerable in Pakistan.