Last year I spent a wonderful week in Pakistan, visiting with my colleagues there. Among other things, I have spent a delightful night in Oghi, in the World Vision team house with my Muslim Pakistani colleagues. Now, six of them are dead and other eight are injured, fightin:g for their life as a result of a senseless attach from Muslim fundamentalists.
May God have mercy on them, their families and their attackers.
Here is an official message from World Vision on this tragic incident:
World Vision today is mourning the brutal and senseless deaths of six members our staff in the Mansehra District of Pakistan after an unprovoked attack by gunmen.
In addition to those killed, 8 employees have been hospitalised with injuries. Four of them were released from the hospital, while the other 4 remain hospitalised in a critical but stable condition.
No threatening letters were received prior to the attack. World Vision’s relief and development work in Pakistan is conducted by local citizens and local leaders have strongly condemned the attack. World Vision sees the attack not only as an attack on its own local staff, but also on the Pakistani people themselves.
All of World Vision’s operations in the country have been suspended for the time being.
World Vision remembers those staff who have died as dedicated people seeking to improve the lives of people affected by poverty and disasters.
Since 1992, World Vision has primarily focused on relief interventions in Pakistan. The work expanded in 2001, when the agency began collaborating with other aid groups in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Punjab Province with emergency relief assistance and community development initiatives. After the devastating October 2005 earthquake, World Vision expanded it operations in Pakistan.
- Our colleagues who passed away were buried yesterday with World Vision staff attending as much as possible
- Out of 8 injured staff, 4 were released from hospital on Wednesday 10 March. As per 11 March 1 other staffer was released from hospital and reunited with family. 3 are still hospitalised, 2 needing further surgery, one of them in critical situation. One of the injured staff is now transported to an Islamabad hospital for further treatment
- World Vision has provided extra support to the injured and their families (sheets, blankets, food, transportation, medication etc)
- Staff care is being rolled out with UNDP staff care unit
- World Vision partnership memorial will take place next Wednesday, synchronised with World Vision Pakistan
- Compound/Office of World Vision in Oghi was handed over to Pakistani authorities and police for investigation
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Letter of Sir John Holmes, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, to Kevin Jenkins, President of World Vision International, on the tragic events in Pakistan:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to express formally my shock at the killing and wounding of World Vision staff members in Manshera District in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, and to pass on our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, following our conversation earlier this evening. I will be issuing a public statement to this effect very shortly.
I have long appreciated the role that World Vision has played in Pakistan over the many years in which it has been engaged in humanitarian response and development activities. As we discussed, I hope that this incident will not cause World Vision to disengage from a country and a people that continue to require your care and support, but I understand that you will need to review your operations, and keep in mind, as we all must, the paramount issue of the security of your staff.
I would be most grateful if you could extend my condolences to the members of your team in Pakistan and elsewhere and assure them that our thoughts are with them at this most difficult time.