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The Ultimate Act of Love

Pakistani Christian Women Distribute Cash Gifts to Muslim Women In Flood Hit Areas During Their Eid Festival.

It was an extraordinary act of love towards Pakistani Muslim women when Christian female members of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) from Toba Tek Singh district, distributed cash gifts among local Muslim women affected by floods during their Eid celebration.

Some of the recipients of the cash gifts

Eid is important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide is held to to commemorate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, but instead was able to sacrifice a ram (by God’s command.)

The heavy rains came to Pakistan just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, known locally as Ramazan, arrived.

Sunrise-to-sunset fasting is the key component of the month. And while Eid-al-Fitr marks the end to the fasting, there seems to be no end in sight for millions of Pakistanis who were caught in the floodwaters.

Pakistanis normally celebrate Eid at home with their families. But for many of the flood survivors, that is no longer an option.

Mrs. Nasreen Maqbool, District Coordinator, APMA for Women, told ANS, “Minorities in Pakistan are supporting the affected Pakistanis across the country under the leadership of Mr. Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minorities.

“Members of AMPA have been busy day and night to supply as much as relief as they can to the affected — equally to both to Muslims and also to minorities.”

Part of the crowd watching the event

APMA women groups in different villages and cities had raised the equivalent of USD$625.00, which in Pakistan is a lot of money. The women groups then suggested that the cash be distributed among the affected women as relief had hardly reached to them. It was decided to distribute Rupees 500 (about USD$6.00) each among hundreds of flood affected women.

Mozua/village Sumendawana, Tehsil Ahmed Pur Sial, District Jhang, was selected for the distribution effort.

The reason that it was selected was that the Chenab River had completely devastated the village and the local people were forced to live on the dyke. It was a remote area, and therefore did not get the attention of the aid giving agencies, government and media.

Habib Manzer, correspondent Daily Jang and Geo TV from Ahmed Pur Sial, contacted APMA Toba Tek Singh to request help for the affected people. On hearing of this request, an AMPA women team from Toba Tek Singh made visits to the areas and observed that the women were starving and were not been given any sort of relief.

As the month of Ramadan was about to end and women had nothing to celebrate their holy festival, the distribution of cash gifts among hundreds of women was organized on Thursday, September 9, 2010.

Speaking to women before distribution, Mrs. Nasreen said that APMA was “working hard to build strong Pakistan” and that, in flood hit areas “women will not be left alone.”

She said that the cash gifts from a group called “Christian Women for Muslim Sisters” was given at the time of their Holy Feast “as a sign of love, peace and harmony.”

APMA Women assured the Muslim women that they will carry on supporting them with relief and rehabilitation.

Mrs. Nasreen hailed the efforts of her party chief, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, to “envision the workers to serve the flood affected people in Pakistan.”

Executive District Officer for Social Welfare, Jhang, and his team, helped the APMA members to identify the most deserving women in the area that had been affected by the Chenab River flooding.

Local leaders, media persons and government officials witnessed the distribution of Eid Cash gifts among Muslim women, some of which expressed their gratitude.

Allah Jawai, 38, told ANS, “I am very happy to get the cash gift as my family had nothing to celebrate Eid. We have an acute shortage of food in the village and I thank APMA sisters for their wonderful idea to help the women.”

Tasleem Mai, 36, said she was overjoyed to get the gift. “My new born baby is sick and the local doctor suggested that I take the child to District Headquarter which is hundred kilometers (about 62 miles) away from our village. My family did not have a single penny to go to Jhang. The cash gift of APMA has given me a hope to save my child.”

People from various sections of life were present at the occasion. As the ASSIST News Service Special Correspondent, I remained there the whole time to cover this great moment of love and joy in the midst of so much suffering.

Ashfaq Fateh

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