Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has dismissed concerns that international aid to help flood affected people in the country could be misused.
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Pakistan has so far received USD 291 million in aid from the international community.
Zardari challenged his critics to prove “there had been even one scandal so far that involves the misappropriation of [flood] funds.”
The President also said that his government was stepping up domestic efforts to raise money.
“Unless we can begin coming up with the money ourselves, how can we expect [foreign] taxpayers to be generous? It is not the amount which matters – it is also the intent,” The Financial Times quoted Zardari, as saying.
Earlier, UN officials had said that many donors want to see tighter monitoring of the relief effort before they increase their aid commitments.
“Donors are worried over the possibility of large-scale corruption and want to see evidence of a very efficient utilisation of their funds before they step forward,” a UN official had said.
The “worst floods in Pakistan’s history”, triggered by torrential monsoon downpours in July, have claimed the lives of over 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 20 million people, eight percent of the population.
It first struck the western province of Baluchistan on July 22 before inundating the worst-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and then entering Punjab and Sindh.