Sunday, May 24, 2009

Donors moot

Pakistan on Thursday received pledges of $224 million for relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IPDs) during a donors’ meeting.

However, the United Nations is to flash on Friday an appeal to the world, seeking about $500-600 million, said Minister of State for Economic Affairs Division Hina Rabbani Khar, who was accompanied by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, at a press briefing.

To a question, she said aid for the IDPs from the western countries would land in Pakistan through the UN agencies. However, Muslim countries would extend their help under bilateral arrangements.

Right now the biggest challenge the government is facing was to provide relief, manage camps and simultaneously work on rehabilitation and reconstruction issues. Qamar Zaman Kaira disclosed the government will continue to provide services to the IDPs if the materialisation of pledges gets delayed and to this effect, as the president and the prime minister have asked the finance ministry to cut the development budget and even the budgetary allocation on important ongoing projects as the government priority is to provide solace to the displaced persons.

He said the biggest challenge is to target those displaced persons who are living with their relatives, as the government wants to register them and provide required food relief and cash of Rs25,000 per family. To a question, he denied the US troops would take part in the military operation against the militants. Earlier, in the donors’ meeting, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urged the international and local donors to help the government for effective rehabilitation of the IDPs. In his opening remarks, the prime minister said the government was cognizant of the problems being faced by the displaced persons and was taking steps for their rehabilitation on a war-footing. Gilani assured full security to the international aid workers working in the affected areas and relief camps.

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