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CWS, Partners in India and Pakistan Ask Prayers, Work for Peace

June 7, 2002, NEW YORK CITY - Church World Service staff in Pakistan and staff from long-time partner Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) in India are asking prayers and work for a diplomatic solution to the tensions between their two countries.

Reached by telephone Monday (June 3) in Pakistan, CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan Director Marvin Parvez said he and other CWS staff hope "that good sense prevails and that national leaders make decisions that make sense for the people of India and Pakistan."

But Parvez made clear that the situation is extremely serious, and that for the CWS staff and others in Pakistan, "This is all very real right now." Concerned at the possibility of an escalation in fighting, several countries, including the United States and Britain, have urged their citizens to leave India and Pakistan, and CWS has evacuated two international staff members in the CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan program.

"As an agency, we're still planning and wanting to help people, even in the worst possible situation," he said. Parvez thanked CWS staff, member denominations and others for their "prayers, support and concern. It means a lot to us; every little thing means a lot." CWS staff throughout the world have to view each other "as a family," he said, and asked for continued prayers and pleas for peace and restraint in south-central Asia.

Sushant Agrawal, Director of CASA, meeting CWS staff Wednesday (June 4) at The Interchurch Center in New York City, said, "Even a conventional war would be disastrous" - requiring massive shelter, food, housing and medical assistance -- and acknowledged that it is impossible to consider "responding" to a nuclear exchange.

He stressed the need for partners and churches in North America to continue to pray for peace. "Please continue to pray that this (war) does not happen," he said.


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