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Charity ends in hail of bullets

Karachi, Sept. 25 (Reuters): For 30 years Idare-e Amn-O-Insaf, or the Organisation for Peace and Justice, dispensed legal advice to the poor, helped women and supported development projects in Pakistan.

From a small office in the southern port city of Karachi, a team of mainly Christian workers backed by the Protestant and Catholic churches did their best to help the disadvantaged in one the world’s most chaotic and unforgiving cities.

Today, their work and their world were cruelly shattered.

Two unidentified gunmen came into their unmarked office in downtown Karachi, roped the employees to their chairs and executed seven of them one by one with a pistol shot to the head. The gunmen then fled. “We don’t know how it happened,” said Sakina Rahmat, an employee of the organisation as she choked back tears. “We have no enmity with anybody. How could this happen to us'”

Rahmat usually starts work in the afternoon and was not there at the time of the attack.

Today, instead of being at work she sat disconsolately at the bedside of a colleague who miraculously survived the attack, but will at best be paralysed down his left side after a bullet left part of his brain exposed.

Maqbool Inderias, a Christian lawyer who has worked with the organisation for years, was as mystified as anyone by the attack.

“It is a welfare organisation and there is no discrimination between Muslims and Christians,” he told Reuters. “We have people of both faiths working for the organisation. It has been providing relief to people of both religions.”

“I cannot understand who has done that and why,” he said. “All the victims are innocent people. They were not involved in any religious or political activities, they were simply social workers.”

Inderias said he knew two of the dead men, including John Monezes, “a lively boy” of 36 or 37.

“A thorough gentleman,” he said. “He was unmarried. I asked him when he was planning to get married. He said very soon. I can not believe he is no more.”

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