Parliament committee slams UK response to Pakistan floods

The British government’s response to the flooding in Pakistan has been slammed as “risible” by Parliament’s International Development Select Committee.

London, The Gulf Observer: The British government’s response to the flooding in Pakistan has been slammed as “risible” by Parliament’s International Development Select Committee, according to reports on Wednesday.

Writing to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the committee’s Chairwoman Sarah Champion said the support of up to £1.5 million ($1.7 million) announced last week would provide just 5 pence per person affected by the disaster, which has destroyed at least 700,000 homes.

Champion, an MP with the opposition Labour Party, added that she is “embarrassed” by the “pathetically small” support provided by Britain, saying the government’s move to include already existing funding to Pakistan means the UK is effectively providing “nothing.”

She added that Truss, who is running to become leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister, must deliver an urgent statement on the extreme rainfall and flooding that has devastated much of Pakistan, and that it must be given to Parliament when it returns from its summer break on Monday.

Champion said the foreign secretary’s silence and poor financial support following the floods is part of a policy of “sustained indifference” from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration toward Pakistan, which was Britain’s top aid recipient in 2019 but has now slid to seventh.

Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad last week said his “thoughts and prayers” were with the millions of Pakistanis who had been affected by the extreme weather. “The UK stands with the people of Pakistan during this time of need,” he added.

Johnson said on Tuesday: “Our sympathies are very much with the people of Pakistan and we’ve seen the devastation there and it’s absolutely heart-rending.

“Pakistan is traditionally one of the biggest recipients of UK overseas aid. We will of course make sure that we send a fitting package commensurate with the vital relationship that there is between the UK and Pakistan and people’s natural sympathies with those who have been affected by the floods.”