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November 30, 2010

UK minister points to Pak govt corruption

National

November 30, 2010

LONDON: British Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi has strongly criticized the government of Pakistan for the lack of transparency and its failure to curb the phenomenal rise in corruption.
Warsi, who is also Co-Chairman of the ruling Conservative Party, joined a staunch critic of the government and former cricket hero Imran Khan at a fundraiser jointly organized by Imran Khan Flood Relief and Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman Foundation (MKRF) under the banner of PUKAAR in Manchester to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the more than 2 million flood victims of Pakistan.
Warsi appealed to nearly 1,500 British Pakistani who had bought tickets to attend the fundraiser to donate generously through Imran Khan to help the victims of floods and narrated how she herself had been moved during her visits to the country by the misery of those who have suffered from the floods. But she said that there was real apathy amongst the diaspora Pakistani communities and “quite rightly so when 95 percent of the population doesn’t pay taxes and when corruption is on the rise.”
She said the mismanagement and the inability of the government forces people to think: ‘why should I play my part?’ Still she appealed to the overseas communities not to forget the millions of victims who are no more on the international television screens and whom media has already forgotten. She said she would never forget when an elderly woman asked her not to forget the misery of the flood victims when back in England and added that Imran Khan was bringing the same message that we should not forget our brothers and sisters who need our help for rehabilitation. She said that Imran Khan is an example of what is good and optimistic about Pakistan.
Imran Khan told the audience about the damage floods had caused in vast areas of the country and how millions had been forced to live in the open in extreme misery. He said the damage caused by the floods is unprecedented and the victims need help of

overseas Pakistanis and others for rehabilitation.
“The challenge now is to rehabilitate people who have been rooted out. We need to come together to make them stand on their own feet. It is estimated that about 2,500 villages have been destroyed. I am planning to help rehabilitate 100 villages,” said Khan, outlining that his first priority in the immediate phase was to get seeds to the villages before the first week of December because all their seeds to sow the next crop have been swept in the floods.
He said relying on the government to do anything would be a futile hope as “it’s not the most competent and honest government around.” He said every effort must be mobilized to help people in the villages and towns at private level because the current government lacked trust of international donors and the US Aid had already asked for a probe into the financial irregularities of a few NGOs and had sought the help of National Accountability Bureau.
Rabia Zia, Coordinator IKFR-UK, confirmed that £250,000 had been raised on the occasion. Sajjad Karim MEP, Attaullah Khan Esa Khelvi and Lord Mayor of Manchester also attended the event.