WFP bomb victims identified; Pakistanis outraged

The U.N. closed its World Food Programme (WFP) office in Islamabad after five people were killed and four others injured by a bomb blast on Oct. 5.

Javed Mahmood

2009-10-09

KARACHI — The U.N. closed its World Food Programme (WFP) office in Islamabad after five people were killed and four others injured by a bomb blast on Oct. 5.

The confirmed fatalities are an Iraqi information and communication technology officer, Botan Ahmed Ali al-Hayawi and four Pakistanis: Abid Rehman, a senior finance assistant; Gulrukh Tahir, a receptionist; Farzana Barkat, an office assistant and Mohammed Wahab, a finance assistant.

“A joint investigation team has been formed to probe the blast and to find out the terrorists behind the gory incident,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik said by telephone from Islamabad.

The United Nations has closed all its offices across Pakistan temporarily after the suicide blast, said U.N. spokeswoman Susan Manuel after the incident.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which led to the U.N. decision. But the subsequent closure of other important humanitarian facilities across the nation left average Pakistanis both saddened and outraged.

“We felt very sad and gloomy all day when we heard about the attack on the WFP office,” said Saba Kamran, a teacher at the Sheikh Zayed International School in Islamabad. The terrorists want to alienate Pakistan from the international donors, and sabotage the relief work in Swat and Malakand.

“Everyone in our office was cursing the terrorists when the incident took place,” said Aftab Mahmood, a government worker in Islamabad. The terrorists are making every effort to defame Pakistan and Islam. They deserve no leniency, and the government should take every possible step to eliminate them.”

“If the WFP and other donor agencies suspended relief work in Pakistan, it would add to the miseries of the millions of deserving citizens and be a setback to the process of economic recovery,” said economist Dr Ashfaq Khan by telephone from Islamabad.

The WFP is engaged in providing relief to millions of people in terror-hit areas in NWFP, and the terrorists want to undermine this noble mission, he added.

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