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Pakistan PM defends decision to accept aid from India

By M Zulqernain
August 21, 2010 23:23 IST
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Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday defended the Pakistan government's decision to accept aid for flood victims from India, saying those opposed to the move should give reasons for their stance.

"I would like to ask the critics of India's aid on what ground we should refuse it. It will be a narrow approach if we refuse aid from India," Gilani said while talking to reporters.

Pakistan on Friday accepted India's offer to provide $5 million for the victims of the devastating floods that have swept the country. The move has been criticised by some politicians, who linked the matter to the ongoing protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

Gilani said, "Would it not be a contrast if we refused the aid? On the one hand, we are stressing on the resumption of dialogue with India and on the other, we refuse its aid. We should come out of this approach and give a strong image to Pakistan."

He said he was chairing a high-level meeting when he was informed about India's offer to provide aid. "I told my foreign minister to thank his Indian counterpart for the aid," he said.

Gilani noted that both Pakistanis and Indians had collected funds for the flood-affected people. Pakistan has received a tremendous response from the world community in response to its call for aid for the flood victims and the government has proposed an independent council to oversee the transparent spending of funds, he said.

"The international community trusted us and that is why such huge aid is pouring in," he said.

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M Zulqernain in Lahore
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