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Pak officials diverted foreign funds meant for PoK

More than 300 million pounds of aid for victims of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake has been diverted by President Asif Ali Zardari`s government.



London: More than 300 million pounds of
aid for victims of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake has been
diverted by President Asif Ali Zardari`s government, raising
fears that this will deter donors coming to the aid of flood
devastated people in the country.

"As the money was not forthcoming, schools, hospitals,
buses and roads planned to come up with money given by foreign
governments and international aid groups remain unbuilt almost
five years after the earthquake which killed 80,000 and left
four million people homeless," The Daily Telegraph reported
today quoting senior Pakistani officials.

The damning report comes as Pakistani leadership is
clamouring for millions of dollars in international aid to
cope with the country`s worst ever calamity in which 20
million people are affected by floods.

The paper said international donors gave 3.5 billion
pounds to rebuild vast swaths of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces after the earthquake destroyed
the region`s infrastructure.

However, senior Pakistani officials said more than 300
million pounds given in aid has yet to be handed over to the
country`s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation
Authority (ERRA).

Telegraph cited a senior ERRA official as saying that
they were told in March 2009 that 90 million pounds was being
diverted from their budget to other government projects.

"When we have the money we will pay you," officials
told ERRA directors. In June again their budget was cut from
43 billion rupees to just 10 billion.

The diversion of money has come in for strong
condemnation by the Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who said,
"There`s reluctance, even people in this country even people
in this country are not giving generously into this flood fund
because they`re not too sure the money will be spent
honestly."

The paper said it had surveyed Balakot town, one of
the worst affected in 2005 earthquake where 25,000 people died
and the people were told that their township would be rebuilt.

"But despite promises that the new town would be
completed by last month, not a single road has been completed
nor building construction began on the site of new Balakot,"
The Telegraph said.

Britain has given 86 million pounds in aid, including
50 million pounds to the country`s Earthquake Reconstruction
and Rehabilitation Authority.

Britain`s Department for International Development
spokesman said: "The British Government has made clear it is
reviewing all its programmes to ensure that our aid is
transparent, accountable and helps those who need it most.

PTI

From Zee News

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