Pakistan tells world community to forgive all loans since 2005

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK: Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Husain Haroon Tuesday called on the international community to help Pakistan overcome the desperate humanitarian crisis emerging in the wake of military action against militant groups. He suggested that the best way to do so would be for all loans given to Pakistan by international donors following the 2005 earthquake to be forgiven.

Speaking at a meeting on the emerging crisis at Asia Society here he said this was not America's war on terror; it was world's war against the scourge.

The world, therefore, has a responsibility to come to the aid of Pakistan, which had in the past few years been hit by a series of disasters - the 2005 earthquake, the 2007 floods and lately by an astronomical rise in energy and food prices.

Also making an appeal to send money to Pakistan was George Rupp, Chief Executive Officer of International Rescue Committee who felt that $ 110 million dollars sent Pakistan by the United States were not enough.

'Substantially much more money was needed to fight this war,' which he felt would be long and protracted.

Asked about the morale of the army in fighting the militants Ambassador Haroon said that '[The] Pakistan Army was clearing the valley of the Taliban as it advanced to other areas. The Taliban will not go in a hurry,' he said, adding, 'They keep coming back.'

Replying to a question, the ambassador said that adequate mechanisms and monitoring systems were in place to ensure that money being pumped into Pakistan did not go into wrong hand and was used fog the welfare of the affected and for the development of the region.

Questioned about the release of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Haroon said that he was set free by Pakistan's independent judiciary, which emerged at the climax of the lawyers movement. The move did not violate any UN Security Council resolution or decisions.

Nicolas Platt, former US Ambassador to Pakistan, was moderator at the panel discussion.


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