Lahore: Pakistan, which agreed to accept
USD 5 million Indian aid for flood victims following prod by
the US, has claimed that the move has enhanced its diplomatic
image since refusal would have gone against its insistence on
resumption of dialogue.
After dilly-dallying for several days, Pakistan
recently accepted India`s offer to provide USD 5 million for
the millions of victims of the devastating floods that have
swept the country.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the
move to accept the assistance has enhanced Pakistan`s
diplomatic image and asked those opposed to taking aid from
India to give reasons for their stand.
"I would like to ask the critics of Indian aid on what
ground we should refuse it. It will be a narrow approach
if we refuse aid from India," Gilani told reporters at his
But, the move has been criticised by some politicians.
"The government has accepted the Indian aid offer on the US
call," said Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq, chairman of PML-N party
of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"It was earlier reported in the media but the Foreign
Minister (Shah Mahmood Qureshi) made it public on Friday. The
US had urged Pakistan to accept the Indian aid offer," Haq was
quoted as saying by the `Jang` newspaper.
Former Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar was quoted as
saying that "it is beyond understanding that the government
accepted the offer after few days."
However, Gilani said: "Would it not be a contrast if
we refused the aid? On the one hand, we are stressing on the
resumption of dialogue with India and on the other, we refuse
its aid. We should come out of this approach and give a strong
image to Pakistan."
He said he was chairing a high-level meeting when he
was informed about India`s offer to provide aid. "I told my
Foreign Minister to thank his Indian counterpart for the aid,"
Gilani noted that both Pakistanis and Indians had
collected funds for the flood-affected people.
Pakistan has received a tremendous response from the
world community in response to its call for aid for the flood
victims and the government has proposed an independent council
to oversee the transparent spending of funds, he said.
"The international community trusted us and that is
why such huge aid is pouring in," he said.
The UN has launched a flash appeal for USD 460 million
out of which USD 263 million have been received.
The worst deluge in Pakistan`s history has killed
nearly 2,000 people and affected 3.6 million people.