The United Nations today remembered five fallen colleagues who were working on the frontlines against hunger when their lives were brutally cut short by a suicide bombing last week at the headquarters of the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Pakistani capital.
The five had differing roles and were at different stages in their careers but they were united by a desire to help their fellow countrymen in Pakistan, where WFP is providing vital food aid to as many as 10 million people, including emergency relief to as many as 2 million civilians displaced by conflict in the Swat Valley region earlier this year.
The victims of this senseless attack were working tirelessly on the frontlines of hunger and human suffering to assist the poor and the vulnerable of Pakistan, " Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the memorial ceremony held today in Islamabad that was attended by diplomats, Government officials and UN staff members.
Their selfless work to feed the hungry should not have been dangerous. It was part of the humanitarian mission of the United Nations to aid those in need. "
Mr. Ban pledged that the UN will not be deterred by this senseless " violence.
Yes, we must continue to be vigilant about the dangers of the world we live and work in. But our resolve will stay strong and our work " which is against no-one and for the benefit of many " will continue, " he stated. This is the best way to honour the memory of our fallen colleagues. "
The victims include veteran information and communication technology expert Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi, who left his native Iraq to work for WFP in Jordan, Sudan and then Pakistan.
Staff assistant Farzana Barkat was working at her desk at the time of blast, which occurred a little after noon local time on 5 October. She would have turned 23 last Saturday.
Abid Rehman was described as a humble and soft-spoken man, a senior finance assistant who had worked with WFP since 1998.
Gul Rukh Tahir was a receptionist that everyone loved for her smile and the first to greet those entering the WFP offices.
Mohammad Wahab, a meticulous and industrious finance assistant, was loved for his jokes.
These were people who were dedicated to helping their countrymen who had been displaced and needed food, " WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said today as she stood amid the debris of the bombed offices.
Ms. Sheeran, who flew to Islamabad immediately after the bombing, inspected the wrecked headquarters, as well as met and comforted the families of the victims and visited injured staff members in hospital.