13 October 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to Memorial Ceremony, Honours Victims

of Bombing at World Food Programme Office in Islamabad


This is the text of a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a memorial ceremony in Islamabad, Pakistan, today in honour of the United Nations staff killed and injured in the bombing of the World Food Programme office in Islamabad:

Dear colleagues and friends,

I thank you for gathering on this sombre occasion to honour our fallen heroes. I thank you too for continuing the work of the United Nations despite the tragic events of 5 October.

The attack on the World Food Programme officebrought great sorrow to the humanitarian community in Pakistan and the United Nations as a whole. 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. 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.

Let us remember our fallen colleagues.

We lost Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi,a native of Iraq who left his country to work for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan, Sudan and then Pakistan.

We lost Farzana Barkat, working at her desk at the time of blast. She would have been 23 on Saturday 10 October.

We lostAbid Rehman,humble and soft-spoken, who had worked with the World Food Programme since 1998.

We lost Gul Rukh Tahir,always the first to greet you with a smile at the World Food Programme offices.

And we lost Mohammad Wahab,meticulous and industrious, loved for his jokes.

They were united in their desire to help the suffering people of Pakistan. They paid the ultimate price.

Four of our colleagues were injured in this terrible attack. Syed Ale Tahir was gravely injured and is now in hospital in Geneva, still in serious condition. Our other three colleagues, Adam Razzak Motiwala, Sheikh Atif Ullah Walleem and Muneer Ahmed, are recovering in Dubai.

Our hearts go out to all the families who have lost a father, a daughter, a son, a sister or a brother in this brutal attack. Our hearts go out to the wounded, and we wish them a swift recovery. Our hearts go out to those who survived and who will never forget this tragedy.

We 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.

This is the best way to honour the memory of our fallen colleagues.

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For information media • not an official record