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Musharraf thanks PM for quake aid

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
Last updated on: October 13, 2005 10:32 IST
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Deeply appreciating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's gesture of calling him to express grief over the massive earthquake that struck Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf thanked him on Wednesday for dispatching aid.

Making a special mention of Dr Singh in his address to the nation on Wednesday night, Musharraf said Dr Singh called him and offered all possible assistance.

"Dr Singh was very kind to ring me up and offer all possible assistance," he said. "We express our gratitude to him and we have accepted Indian aid in a certain form."

Significantly, Dr Singh was the only leader whom Musharraf mentioned by name, while expressing gratitude to various countries that had sent aid supplies.

"We have been given a lot of donations. We have been assisted in relief and rescue operations and several medical teams and field hospitals have been established by various countries," he said and mentioned the names of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, China, Germany, Russia, France, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Iran, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Bangladesh.

In his address, Musharraf also mentioned a number of telephone calls and the number of letters that he has received from various heads of state.

"We express our deepest gratitude for all your words of kindness, words of sympathy in our hour of need. Thank you very much," he said.

Musharraf also praised Pakistan for demonstrating unity in its response to catastrophic earthquake and appealed to all segments to coordinate their efforts and extend generous donations for early relief and rehabilitation of the quake-stricken countrymen.

"We have to convert this disaster into improvement, those who have lost their lives cannot be brought back but we can certainly bring about improvement in the lives of the affected and we shall effect this improvement," he said.

He asked the nation not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the tragedy but show resilience and courage in taking on the challenging task of relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

"We have to face this catastrophe with boldness, confidence and unity like a courageous nation and we should not be overwhelmed by it," he said.

Musharraf said all national resources are being employed to reach out to the hardest-hit areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and North Western Frontier Province, which had been cut off in the wake of damage caused to roads immediately in last Saturday's devastating quake.

"If rescue and relief operations are not carried out in an organised manner, our efforts might not achieve the desired results. Therefore, I appeal to all those engaged in relief efforts to carry out these activities in a coordinated way," he said.

Musharraf also vowed that he would not rest until he brings about improvement in the future of the quake-hit people and areas. "Therefore, support me in this effort - the gigantic operations require a lot of money - therefore I appeal to the people and the business community to donate generously to the cause and make contributions to the President's Relief Fund."

Complete coverage: Tremors across borders

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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