Pak­istan pledges se­cu­rity for int’l re­lief work­ers

The Pak Banker - - National -

WASHINGTON: Pak­istan has pledged se­cu­rity for in­ter­na­tional flood re­lief work­ers. "The govern­ment has, of course, a whole se­cu­rity strat­egy for aid work­ers and, so far, no aid worker has ever been hurt in Pak­istan in the last sev­eral years," Am­bas­sador Hu­sain Haqqani told MSNBC fol­low­ing af­ter the Tal­iban's threat against in­ter­na­tional re­lief work­ers.

He noted that while ev­ery ter­ror­ist threat should be taken se­ri­ously, the Tal­iban "also use threats, some­times, to in­tim­i­date and dis­suade peo­ple from com­ing." One of their ob­jec­tives, of course, is to cre­ate greater dis­con­tent­ment and greater un­rest against a govern­ment that is demo­crat­i­cally elected, the diplo­mat added.

Haqqani re­called that the Tal­iban mil­i­tants had also is­sued a sim­i­lar threat af­ter the 2005 earth­quake when aid work­ers came to Pak­istan in big num­bers."We were lucky; no one got hurt. We hope that we will be able to pro­vide for the se­cu­rity of aid work­ers," the en­voy said.

In this re­spect, he also un­der­scored the fact that an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Pak­ista­nis wel­come the as­sis­tance they are get­ting."In fact, if any­thing, they want more peo­ple to come and as­sist them. This is a ma­jor catas­tro- phe, 21 mil­lion peo­ple af­fected, 9 mil­lion chil­dren on the move," Haqqani said, re­fer­ring to the dev­as­ta­tion trig­gered by un­prece­dented monsoon flood­ing.

He said the Tal­iban were no doubt a very dan­ger­ous mil­i­tant group but re­lief work was go­ing on smoothly. "I am say­ing that one should take ev­ery threat se­ri­ously. One should be cau­tious... that said, there are al­most a hun­dred aid groups from sev­eral coun­tries in the West work­ing in Pak­istan, and most of them are able to de­liver as­sis­tance to a very grate­ful pub­lic."

To a ques­tion, he ob­served, "The Govern­ment of Pak­istan is sta­ble for the sim­ple rea­son that it's a le­git­i­mate, demo­crat­i­cally elected govern­ment. Now, there is un­rest, of course. If you have 21 mil­lion peo­ple out of 180 mil­lion who are af­fected by floods, homes washed away, in­fra­struc­ture dam­aged mas­sively, and many ar­eas that are still in ac­ces­si­ble for as­sis­tance, it is a tough sit­u­a­tion.

"But with the help of our in­ter­na­tional part­ners, we are try­ing to deal with the sit­u­a­tion. And we hope that once we can get the as­sis­tance to the peo­ple, then the anger and what­ever fears peo­ple have will dis­si­pate." -PB News

IS­LAM­ABAD: Fed­eral Min­is­ter/Chair­per­son BISP Farzana Raja along with Spe­cial Ad­vi­sor to Prime Min­is­ter on So­cial Sec­tor Shah­naz Wazir Ali pre­sid­ing over a meet­ing of the Pak-UK Ed­u­ca­tion Task Force at BISP Sec­re­tar­iat. -On­line

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