Politics first for flood hit Pakistan as it denies aid from Bangladesh

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

Flood hit Pakistan, which is urgently seeking international aid, has made things difficult for aid agencies as it refused to give approval to them for sourcing relief materials from India. Several organisations had urged the Shehbaz Sharif government to allow them to procure relief material from India due to the proximity. Not just that. Islamabad has now denied aid coming in from Bangladesh as well since it feels the move would damage its global image.

“Pakistan Army is reportedly averse to the proposal of aid from Bangladesh as any such relief assistance may undermine Pakistan’s global image,” she said as per local media.

It is ‘politics first’ for the Shehbaz Sharif government even at this hour.

Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif has refrained from seeking any support from India. The government has also continued to vehemently oppose any move to resume imports of essential items including vegetables from India despite Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail’s insistence.

Sharif once again brought in the Kashmir issue even as Pakistan’s economic managers and business community underlined the immediate need to start cross-border trade to contain inflation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last month, expressed concern and sympathy over the havoc caused by the floods in Pakistan. “Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” Modi had tweeted.

Pakistan based Dawn said that the country could have attracted “more international assistance with an inclusive policy to manage the ongoing catastrophe.”

The floods in Pakistan, could cost more than $30 billion to the exchequer and it would be a tough task for Islamabad to restore the situation especially since it has shown scant intention of deviating from domestic politics.

While India, sources said, is ready to provide the assistance to the flood ravaged country, Islamabad is yet to take a concrete decision and also “need to shift their stand on Kashmir.”

(This article was first published in India Narrative)

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