ISLAMABAD: The government appears to have backtracked on its commitment with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to set up a commission for a transparent utilisation of funds for flood victims.
Officials said that President Asif Zardari has differed with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on establishing the proposed commission of apolitical Pakistanis to oversee relief activities.
At a meeting between the two here on Friday, officials said that Zardari opposed the suggestion floated by Sharif at a joint news conference with Premier Gilani last week.
On Thursday, Gilani announced the formation a National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) instead of the commission he had promised to Sharif. But there were still hopes the government would keep its words and form the commission.
“It is not going to happen now … provinces did not agree to that proposal,” said the official spokesperson for the commission proposed by Sharif.
There was already an angry reaction from Sharif. “I can’t understand why it is being delayed?” he questioned two day ago.
The Nawaz League said in a statement on Friday that the government was “complicating” the situation by shying away from its commitment.
Experts warn of “severe” backlash if Gilani couldn’t materialise his commitment.
In the meantime, a statement issued by Zardari’s media office said that both leaders expressed determination to tide over the challenge posed by the worst-ever floods with the help of people, political parties, provincial governments and the international community.
Gilani informed the president that nearly Rs1.5 billion had been collected for relief measures in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Briefing the media about the meetings, presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that it has been decided that separate meetings would be convened for the PPP leaders immediately.
The meeting will make use of the insight of the party leaders and office bearers in making a preliminary damage and needs assessment, and will also assess the mobilisation of human and material resources in facing the adversity.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2010.
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