At least six Pakistani citizens have died in the Christchurch terrorist attack, Foreign Office confirmed on Saturday.
Three other Pakistanis are still missing and yet to be identified, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said in a statement on Twitter.
Authorities in New Zealand have identified the Pakistani martyred as Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem.
One of the martyred is being hailed as a hero for his courageous attempt to stop the shooter during one of the two attacks at mosques.
Naeem Rashid, succumbed to his wounds while under treatment following the attack and was identified as the individual who rushed at the right-wing terrorist attacking the mosque.
Dr Faisal, in a separate tweet, said that Rashid and his son will be buried in Christchurch, adding that arrangements for the burial are in place. He said the Muslim community and a Pakistani association in the city were assisting in arrangements.
The FO spokesperson further said the Pakistani mission was working with families of other four victims for possible transport of bodies to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has directed that all possible help and assistance be extended to the families of the deceased and missing in the Christchurch carnage, Dr Faisal said in another tweet.
Crisis Management Cell
Meanwhile, a Crisis Management Cell has been established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad to address the developing situation, update on the wellbeing of and latest information of Pakistani citizens living in New Zealand.
In addition to the cell, Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner in New Zealand will also be available for information and assistance, round the clock, said a FO statement.
At least 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in the deadly attack which New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was “one of the darkest days in New Zealand” after she referred to it as terrorism.
Rashid, hailing from Abbottabad, received bullet wounds as he tried to overpower the shooter as he entered one of the mosques in Christchurch.
His son, Talha Rashid also lost his life in the same attack. Rashid’s brother Dr Khurshid Alam also confirmed the deaths.
Speaking to CNN in Abbottabad, Dr Alam said his brother was residing in New Zealand for seven years and was a teacher at a university. “My nephew was a student,” he said.
Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal also confirmed in a tweet that another injured Pakistani was critical.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) March 16, 2019
A number of other Pakistan citizens were also present in the mosques during the time of the attack.
Last night, High Commissioner Abdul Malik had also told a private news channel that they are in contact with the local Pakistani community as well as local authorities to find out about casualties.
According to him, the affected mosques in Christchurch were established in 1960 and at the time of shooting some 300 people were inside.
It was an unprecedented terrorist act in the country’s history, the diplomat added.