‘This is your 9/11’

Holbrooke calls the floods “Pakistan’s 9/11” and urged the government to raise funds locally.


Express September 16, 2010

America’s Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has warned Islamabad that reconstruction in the country following the devastating floods would cost “tens of billions of dollars,” and the international community cannot foot the entire bill.

Talking to newspaper editors in Karachi on Thursday, Holbrooke called the floods “Pakistan’s 9/11” and urged the government to raise funds locally. “Just like after 9/11, some important decisions need to be taken,” said the special envoy, who started his visit to Pakistan this week to see the flood situation firsthand.

He, however, assured his audience that the US would lead the international effort to raise funds but hinted that Pakistan needs to do more locally, “given that the country has one of the narrowest tax bases in the world.” Holbrooke said that he had been to many disaster zones in the past but was shaken by the vastness of the problem in Pakistan. He said that it was a “holocaust-like situation” which required “one of the biggest reconstruction efforts in living memory.”

In a sparring mood, Holbrooke chided the media for creating hysteria and also for pinning wrong expectations on the US government. “On the one hand you tell me that the US is interfering in the affairs of Pakistan and on the other you ask us to come up with more help and sort things out. This shows there is too much confusion.”

The US envoy said that while America is criticised in Pakistan, “when the chips are down, it is the United States that comes to the aid of Pakistan first.”

Holbrooke recalled the adverse media reaction in Pakistan to “so called” conditionalities in the Kerry-Lugar Bill. “Here we were trying to get across a $7.5 billion assistance programme to Pakistan, and people in Pakistan were saying it was infringing their sovereignty,” he recalled, adding “that reaction kind of hurt us.”

In the questions that followed, Holbrooke clarified that his tough talking did not mean that if the Pakistan government did not work towards what was expected of in terms of resource mobilisation, the US would withhold funding. “We are committed to helping Pakistan. There is no question about that,” he said.

His worry, said the US envoy, was that a percentage of the money allocated under the Kerry-Lugar Bill was now diverted for flood relief. “Long term projects have been affected by this catastrophe,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2010.

COMMENTS (2)

s. nazir mohmand | 12 years ago | Reply We wish and pray that the present floods does not prove the 9/11 or the holocaust for us. The natural disaster will come and go, with temporary fall out effects and the woe and cry shall last for maximum a decade, as is the case with the Oct 05 earthquake.. The nature played rough with a warning to improve upon our deeds. We did not mend our ways even after getting rid of the dictator, but the MUSH with absolute powers transformed us with absolute corrupts through NRO. . The Mother Nature spitted over the river banks and submerged 25% of our landscape with all its holdings. We can not challenge the decisions of the Almighty, as these are free from even an iota of a mistake. He is kind and shall compensate us, if we repent and this shall also pass with in next 5 to 7 years. I beg the Emperor to ponder over the following without any bias or prejudice: Where and when the 9/11 occurred and who were responsible for the holocaust? How long will the wrath of the Emperor shall persist and how many more in millions to be avenged with all the tools of destruction at the disposal of the uni power. It is not to suffice carpet bombing, that the drones are still killing the good the bad and the ugly tribesmen of FATA alike. How long the Middle East has to bear the bully and atrocities of the Israel, a product of the holocaust perpetrated by the EU. The violence is persistent with increases in its lethality from the last 60 years and with no end visible in the horizon. Conclusion: God is kind and His wrath is short lived and temporary, besides, rewarding on repentance, the natural calamities are temporary and healable; but the Emperor and its well fed Bully Boy’s vengeance is permanent and all encompassing. After all Purple Heart and stone heart ought to different on all counts. Let. America be proud of its greatness|
mussarat | 12 years ago | Reply Whether it is unfortunately ours or yours 9/11, it is condemnable in harshest terms. May His Lordship save this beautiful world from further discomfort, Amen. Mussarat Hussain Washington DC
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