PM offers more assistance for flood relief in Pakistan

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday offered more aid to Pakistan and said his government is ready to help millions of its flood-hit citizens.

Updated: Aug 19, 2010, 15:26 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In yet another goodwill gesture, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday offered more aid to Pakistan and said his government is ready to help millions of its flood-hit citizens.

According to reports, Prime Minister called on his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani and extended his condolences for uncountable flood-related deaths in Pakistan.

During his brief telephonic conversation with Pakistan’s Gilani, Prime Minister also inquired about the relief and rescue works being carried out by government and non-government agencies there.

“India has offered aid to your country and is even ready to do more. We are ready to offer our assistance in the relief and rescue operations being carried out there,” Singh was quoted as saying.

Expressing his grief over the devastating floods in Pakistan, Prime Minister Singh also stated that all of South Asia must help the country in the time of crisis.

The Prime Minister’s offer for more help has come at a time when a controversy has erupted over Pakistan’s reluctance in accepting USD 5 million in aid from India.

Pakistan’s leading rights activist Ansar Burney has also exhorted the government to accept India`s offer of USD five million in aid for the affected people, saying it is not a time “to scratch old wounds”.

“This is the first time Indian government has shown a very positive attitude towards Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks and government of Pakistan should respond positively
to the kind gesture of love of the Indian Government for the sake of flood victims and also for the sake of peace in the region,” Burney said in a statement.

Burney said that Pakistan’s “hypocrite government”, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, on one hand beg the world for help and on the other hand they are not accepting a donation of “Love and Peace from India”.

He said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has extended a friendly hand by announcing five million dollars in flood aid and Pakistan should accept this hand with
the same friendly spirit.

Last week, Krishna called up his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and offered USD 5 million in aid for flood relief work.

Pakistan, so far, has not accepted the offer while at the same time its leaders have been appealing to the international community for more and more aid so as to meet pressing needs of millions of flood-affected people.

Nearly one-fifth of Pakistan is now reported to be badly hit by the devastating flood; the worst for the country in 80 years.