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Britain to assist in reconstructing PoK

By H S Rao in London
November 12, 2005 12:38 IST
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Britain, the second biggest donor of aid to Pakistan, has said it will assist in the reconstruction of quake-ravaged areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

It will also participate in the international donors' conference in Islamabad on November 19, Secretary of the UK's Department for International Development Hilary Benn said.

Asked whether any relief had been provided to Jammu and Kashmir, Benn said India has asked for no international help at all, although DFID had provided 500,000 pounds to the Save the Children Fund, which has gone to the Indian government.

On the Kashmir issue, Benn said the international community must play a role in bringing all parties to the negotiating table, including the people of Kashmir but that there has to be political will from both India and Pakistan to settle the problem.

Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK, spoke of how pictures and news from quake-hit areas only tell part of the story and that underneath lay a complex logistical situation.

She said Pakistan could not manage the reconstruction effort without the help of governments, the UN and NGOs.

Lodhi said a graphic picture of the total damage would be presented at a meeting in Pakistan on November 19.

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H S Rao in London
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