PM calls Gilani,offers more help

A week after external affairs minister SM Krishna offered $5 million to Pakistan for relief to the flood-affected people...

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Published:August 20, 2010 1:49 am

A week after external affairs minister SM Krishna offered $5 million to Pakistan for relief to the flood-affected people across the border,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday reached out to his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani and offered ‘more assistance’.

Singh on Thursday called up the Pakistan PM and offered more assistance in handling the devastation caused by the floods even though that country was yet to respond to New Delhi’s last week’s aid offer of $five million. Singh said “in such times of natural disasters,all of South Asia should rise to the occasion and extend every possible help to the people of Pakistan affected by the tragedy”.

Singh called Gilani “to express his sense of sorrow and to condole the deaths resulting from the huge floods that have devastated parts of Pakistan. The Centre had already made an offer of assistance and was ready to do more to assist in the relief effort.”

Nearly one-fifth of Pakistan is now reported to be badly hit by the devastating flood,the worst for the country in 80 years. Over 1,700 people have died and the UN says more than 6,50,000 people are without basic shelter while six million desperately need emergency aid.

Last week,Krishna had called up Qureshi and offered $5 million in aid. He described the offer as a “gesture of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their hour of need”,a statement issued by the ministry of external affairs said.

With Pakistan yet to decide on taking the aid for flood relief from India,the US has said politics should have no role in disaster response and it ‘expects’ Islamabad to accept the assistance. “In terms of responding to a disaster,politics should play no role. You have a country (India) that’s willing to help (Pakistan),and… We expect that Pakistan will accept,” US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said in Washington.

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