Delhi/Islamabad: India is likely to send its aid to flood
victims in Pakistan through the United Nations, as sought by the
Pakistan government Saturday.
"Once Pakistan accepted our offer, then we were working out the
modalities. If Pakistan wants us to send it through UN, we have no
problem with that," said a senior official in the Indian ministry of
external affairs in New Delhi.
Earlier, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told
Pakistani news channel, Dunya TV: "We have conveyed to India that
they can send their aid to us through UN," noting 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 an aid of $5 million 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.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up his Pakistani counterpart
Yousuf Raza Gilani Aug 19 to reiterate the offer. Finally,
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed to media
in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's special
session, Aug 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 Indian government.
"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.