Islamabad: Pakistan has declined an Indian offer of USD 5 million aid for flood victims directly and wants it to be routed through the United Nations, a TV channel reported here on Saturday.
"We have conveyed to India that they can send their aid to us through UN," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told the TV channel via telephone. He said the UN was the flagship organisation for all foreign aid pouring into the country from different parts of the world for flood-hit people.
India offered the aid to assist the rehabilitation of over 20 million displaced people in Pakistan following flash floods that started July 28 and continue to rock the infrastructure across the country. More than 1,600 people have died this month.
Pakistan had earlier shown reluctance to accept the Indian offer.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani August 19 to reiterate the offer. Finally, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed to media in New York, on the sidelines of UN General Assembly`s special session, August 20 that Pakistan has decided to accept the offer.
The gesture was widely welcomed. Later the Pakistani prime minister sent five boxes of mangoes to Manmohan Singh to say thanks.
Despite the lapse of more than a week since accepting the offer, Pakistan and India could not agree on the modalities for transporting the aid material. Finally, Pakistan decided against accepting the Indian offer directly Saturday and the same was conveyed to the government of India.
"We have asked them to hand over this assistance package to the UN organisations who are working in India as well," Abdul Basit said.
He, though, expressed reluctance to give any reason for this diplomatic snub. "We have appreciated the offer but it`ll not be appropriate to publicly discuss the reasons involved in deciding to route it through UN," he said.