Parliament committee slams UK response to Pakistan floods

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LONDON: The British government’s response to flooding in Pakistan has been dubbed “risible” by Parliament’s International Development Select Committee, according to The Independent.

The committee’s Chairwoman, Sarah Champion, wrote to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, saying the support of up to £1.5 million ($1.7 million) announced last week would provide only 5 pence per person affected by the disaster, which has destroyed at least 700,000 homes.

Champion, an opposition Labour Party MP, added that she is “embarrassed” by Britain’s “pathetically small” support, claiming that the government’s decision to include already existing funding to Pakistan means the UK is effectively providing “nothing.”

She went on to say that Truss, who is running for Conservative Party leader and thus prime minister, must deliver an urgent statement on the extreme rainfall and flooding that has devastated much of Pakistan when Parliament returns from its summer break on Monday.

Champion said the foreign secretary’s silence and lack of financial support in the aftermath of the floods is part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration’s policy of “sustained indifference” toward Pakistan, which was Britain’s top aid recipient in 2019 but has now dropped to seventh.

Last week, Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad expressed his “thoughts and prayers” to the millions of Pakistanis affected by the extreme weather. “The United Kingdom stands with the people of Pakistan in this hour of need,” he added.

“Our sympathies are very much with the people of Pakistan, and we’ve seen the devastation there, and it’s absolutely heart-rending,” Johnson said on Tuesday.

“Traditionally, Pakistan has been one of the largest recipients of UK overseas aid.” We will, of course, send a suitable package in recognition of the vital relationship that exists between the UK and Pakistan, as well as people’s natural sympathies with those affected by the floods.”

Source; Arab News

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