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Catholics, Muslims unite in Pakistan over Covid-19

Karachi Archdiocese offers St. Patrick's Cathedral compound to a Muslim charity for food relief work
Catholics, Muslims unite in Pakistan over Covid-19

Father Saleh Diego visits the food collection center of Jafaria Disaster Management Cell in Karachi on April 16. (Photo supplied)

Published: April 17, 2020 07:03 AM GMT
Updated: April 17, 2020 07:04 AM GMT

The Archdiocese of Karachi has agreed to let a prominent Muslim charity set up a food collection and distribution camp at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the coronavirus pandemic.

Father Saleh Diego, vicar general of the archdiocese, granted permission on behalf of Cardinal Joseph Coutts after visiting the main office of Jafaria Disaster Management Cell (JDC), a non-profit and charitable organization, on April 16.

“You can come and set up your camp at the cathedral compound. We will coordinate and work together from this camp in providing food to those affected by the lockdown,” Father Diego said.

The priest said he was impressed to see the charity had employed so many Christian volunteers to carry out relief work without any religious discrimination.

“I am thankful to Zafar Abbas and all JDC volunteers who are working round the clock to provide food to our brothers, sisters and children in this hour of difficulty. Indeed, it really is a love of God that he shares through people like Zafar Abbas, and by coming here I am really impressed that so many volunteers work here,” Father Diego said.

JDC chief Zafar Abbas thanked Cardinal Coutts and the Catholic Church for lending their support in setting up the camp at the cathedral.

“We have a dedicated team of Christian volunteers who have already distributed ration bags among 4,000 minority families,” Abbas said.

“Cardinal Coutts always sends us gifts and food bags during the holy month of Ramadan. We really appreciate his gesture.”

Abbas said the support he receives from the Catholic Church was a great example of interfaith harmony.

As of April 17, the number of Covid-19 infections in Pakistan was 7,025 with 135 deaths. The Muslim-majority South Asian nation has been under lockdown for over three weeks in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

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