Pakistan has declined an Indian offer of $5 million aid for flood
victims directly and wants it to be routed through the United
Nations, Dunya TV reported here Saturday.
"We have conveyed to India that they
can send their aid to us through UN," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul
Basit told Dunya TV by via telephone.
He said 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 the aid 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.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up his Pakistani
counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani Aug 19 to reiterate the offer.
Finally, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed to media in
New York, on the sidelines of 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 government of India.
"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.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)