MIRAMSHAH: The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Tuesday urged the government to reject American aid for people affected by deadly floods.
“The government should not accept American aid and if it happens, we can give $20 million to them as aid for the flood victims,” TTP spokesperson Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone.
The most devastating floods in Pakistan’s living memory have affected up to 13.8 million people and killed an estimated 1,600 prompting the UN to prepare an appeal for several hundred million dollars for immediate relief.
“We will ourselves distribute relief under the leadership of our chief Hakimullah Mehsud among the people if the government assures us that none of our members will be arrested,” Tariq said.
“We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue.”
Washington has provided $35 million in aid, including 436,000 halal meals and 12 pre-fabricated bridges. The White House said that US helicopters have helped to save more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan.
Critics say the relief effort was slow to get into gear and have heaped scorn on President Asif Ali Zardari for pressing ahead with a visit to Europe at the height of the disaster.
Islamic charities are believed to have stepped into the breach on the ground, as international relief efforts mobilised
It is believed that some banned organizations are also part of the relief efforts in affected parts of the country.
The websites of some of the se organizations give in detail the work done by them in terms of rescue and relief.
In the past as well when Pakistan was afflicted by an earthquake, the first to reach and help victims were religious organizations, including some that were banned by the government.
In comparison government sponsored of supported relief efforts were slow and left a lot to be desires say critics.
Observers say that the TTP offer should be seen in this light and should be taken seriously as people genuinely have faith in its abilities.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.