Friends, colleagues and diplomats gathered on Tuesday to honour the World Food Programme staff members slain and injured in the suicide attack on the WFP headquarters in Islamabad on 5 October. Their work should not be dangerous, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
ISLAMABAD – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to the WFP five staff who were killed and the four who were injured in last week’s attack, underlining their work to help the poor and vulnerable in Pakistan.
“The victims of this senseless attack were working tirelessly on the frontlines of hunger and human suffering to assist the poor and vulnerable of Pakistan,” he said in a statement which was read at the ceremony.
“Their selfless work to feed the hungry should not have been dangerous. It was part of the UN’s mission to aid those in need,” he added.
Some 500 diplomats, Pakistan government officials, United Nations senior officials and staff and family and friends gathered for the ceremony honouring the victims of the attack.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran flew to Islamabad immediately after the October 5 bombing. As well as inspecting the wrecked WFP headquarters, she met and comforted the families of the victims and visited injured staff members in hospital.
After talking with WFP’s stunned team in the country, she said that while concern about security was high, there was also a common will among staff to continue the agency’s work in Pakistan.
Five dedicated humanitarians
The softly-spoken finance officer, the veteran ICT expert, the young staff assistant preparing training documents, the receptionist everyone loved for her smile and the meticulous finance assistant she was talking to -- these were the victims of last week's bomb at WFP HQ in Islamabad.
BOTAN AHMED ALI AL-HAYAWI (ICT Officer in Dubai)
Botan went back a long way with WFP, joining in 1991 in northern Iraq. His skills and smiles were always appreciated by those around him. He worked in Jordan and Sudan before coming to Pakistan.
FARZANA BARKAT (Staff Assistant-Logistics)
At the time of blast, Farzana was at her desk, preparing documents for a training session scheduled later in the day. She would have celebrated her 23rd birthday on 10 October. She leaves a brother.
ABID REHMAN (Senior Finance Assistant)
Abid was humble and quietly spoken. If you wanted to hear what he was saying you had to come really close. With WFP since 1998, he was known as a thorough professional, who smiled under pressure.
GUL RUKH TAHIR (Receptionist)
As soon as you entered the WFP office, the first face you encountered was Gul Rukh Tahir. She was known and loved for her shining personality and her smile. She was at her desk when the terrorist blew himself up.
MOHAMMAD WAHAB (Finance Assistant)
Wahab, who leaves a wife and three children, came from the Swabi district. Meticulous and industrious, he will also be missed for his Pashtun jokes. He was standing at reception, checking something with Gul when the blast came.