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‘US cannot leave Pakistan alone’

KARACHI/THATHA/MUKLI—US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said US can not leave Pakistan alone in this hour of trial and will continue to provide assistance to the flood affectees. Richard Holbrooke said this while talking to media men Wednesday during his visit to flood ravaged areas and he also went up to relief camps set up in collaboration with US. He arrived in Karachi Wednesday on four days visit while a 4-member team of US experts was also accompanying him. After his arrival in Karachi, he visited Thatha, Mukli and other flood hit areas. He held US was the first country which had started dispatching relief goods for flood victims and relief inflow was still continuing. Relief aid of over Rs 25 billion in the form of cash, goods, transport and helicopters had been provided to Pakistan so far, he pointed out. US had been helping Pakistan in the past and now when the flood affectees were facing hard times his visit to Pakistan was aimed at ascertaining the requirements and assessing the loss caused to the affectees by disastrous floods so that his country could provide more assistance in line with the needs of affectees, he underlined. Holbrooke told he would meet President Asif Ali Zardari and prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. US would expand its projects pertaining to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood hit areas, he added. “Besides we want that aid which is coming for flood affectees be utilized in transparent manner”, he held. Richard Holbrooke will visit flood stricken areas of South Punjab and later he would address joint press conference with foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Australian foreign minister. During his talks with journalists after arrival at Karachi air port he said his country had already extended aid of 300 million dollars for flood victims and 8 helicopters had also been provided for carrying food to the flood affected areas. Cooperation would be extended to Pakistan in the long term projects for rehabilitation of flood affected people, he told. —Agencies

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