Washington: Pakistan has finally accepted the USD five million aid offered by India for flood relief victims and said such a gesture was appreciated.
"I can share with you that the Government of Pakistan has agreed to accept the Indian offer (of USD 5 million aid)," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on the sidelines of the special session of the General Assembly on Pakistan at the United Nations headquarters.
The US had yesterday asked Pakistan to accept USD five million in flood aid from India as politics should have no role in disaster response.
The foreign minister asserted that Pakistan was not playing any politics on aid offer from India.
"We are not playing politics. Let me acknowledge the fact that the Minister for External Affairs, Mr (SM) Krishna, called me in Islamabad and he expressed sympathy, he condoled with me on the loss of life, and offered assistance to Pakistan," he told a television interview.
Qureshi was at the United Nations headquarters in New York to attend the special session of the General Assembly on Pakistan.
Qureshi thanked Krishna, Indian Government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for this very "positive" gesture.
"It`s highly appreciated by Pakistan and we have recognised it. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Prime Minister Gillani and they have also exchanged views on the evolving flood situation in Pakistan.
"He has reiterated the offer made by the foreign minister, and I can share with you that the government of Pakistan has agreed to accept the Indian offer," Qureshi said.
"I think this initiative of India is a very welcome initiative and I`m looking forward to further engagements with my counterpart to improve the environment, to build confidence and to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries," the Pakistan foreign minister said.
When asked about reports that Islamic extremist groups might take advantage of this opportunity to win over hearts and minds, Qureshi asserted this will not happen.
"I think what we saw today and the UN will not permit them to take advantage of the situation. I think the international community is now forthcoming and the international community is responding and they are responding quickly, and we will not allow them to exploit that situation," Qureshi said.
Gilani sends thanks PM for flood aid with mangoes
Responding to India`s aid to flood-hit people in his country, Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today sent five boxes of mangoes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a gesture of gratitude.
The Prime Minister`s Office received five boxes of
mangoes from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a PMO spokesman
Reacting to the development, External Affairs Ministry
spokesman Vishnu Prakash said the acceptance was conveyed by
Qureshi and, "We welcome the decision of Pakistan to accept
the aid offer."
He described the assistance as goodwill gesture made
to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan, who have
been hit by the worst floods in 80 years.
PM Manmohan Singh had spoken to Gilani yesterday and offered more
assistance in handling flood relief.
Three weeks of unusually heavy monsoon rains triggered
flash floods in Khyber-Paktunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan and
Sindh provinces of Pakistan, affecting 20 million people.
Over 1,700 people have died and the UN says more than
650,000 people are without shelter while six million
desperately need emergency aid. Tens of thousands of villages
are still under water.