Are Jehadis Getting Quake Funds?
4 November 2005
The Times of India
New Delhi: $5 billion. That is the amount of global aid Pakistan government aims to mobilise from the rest of the world after the earthquake toll touched 73,000. Pakistan foreign minister Khursheed Kasuri, who called his Indian counterpart Natwar Singh on Thursday evening to convey his condolences over the loss of life and property after Saturday's Delhi blasts, also requested an Indian presence at the next donors' conference in Pakistan. Interestingly this fundraising activity comes when US relief helicopter came under rocket fire in Chakothi area in Pakistanoccupied Kashmir (PoK) on Tuesday. Pakistan said it was blasting dynamite on the roads, but the US army said it was a grenade fired from a rocket. After receiving aid pledges for $570 million at the UN-sponsored donors' conference in Geneva, and a further pledge of $350 million from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Pakistan wants to increase the amount by organising a second donors' conference in Islamabad on November 19. India has already pledged $25 million besides sending huge amounts in relief materials to the earthquake-hit areas. India has said it will consider the offer though indications are that it will attend. As Pakistan's earthquake relief takes on an Islamist hue, the scepticism is growing in India about the endusers of relief funds in Pakistan. After Saturday's blasts in Delhi and Wednesday's car bombing in Srinagar, both the handiwork of terrorist groups, there will be reluctance for India to address humanitarian issues in Pakistan with a fear that this could turn against India only. According to reports, British and American relief teams are working alongside otherwise banned organisations like the Al Rasheed Trust and Jamaatud-Dawa. It is precisely to address these fears that the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson repeated Musharraf 's assurance for action if any Pakistanis were found involved. 'Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated that preliminary investigations pointed to the possibility of some links between those responsible for the Delhi blasts and some Pakistani elements,' Aslam said. 'The president assured Mr Singh of Pakistan's cooperation (in investigations) and he also said that if there was some evidence and it was shared with us then we would take action against those found responsible,' she said. 'We do expect the Indian government to share the evidence of involvement of any Pakistani or if there is any Pakistani connection,' she said. On Tuesday, US army working for relief in the Chakothi area of PoK felt this when a US Chinook helicopter came under rocketpropelled grenade fire from this terrorist-infested areas.