Lahore :Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has defended his government's decision to accept aid for flood victims from India, saying it has enhanced Pakistan's diplomatic image. He said those opposed to taking aid from India should give reasons for their stand.
"I would like to ask the critics of Indian aid on what ground we should refuse it. It will be a narrow approach if we refuse aid from India," Gilani said while talking to reporters at his residence here.
Pakistan yesterday accepted India's offer to provide USD 5 million for the millions of victims of the devastating floods that have swept the country. He said the move has enhanced Pakistan's diplomatic image.
The move has been criticised by some politicians, who linked the matter to the ongoing protests in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Gilani said: "Would it not be a contrast if we refused the aid? On the one hand, we are stressing on the resumption of dialogue with India and on the other, we refuse its aid.
We should come out of this approach and give a strong image to Pakistan."
He said he was chairing a high-level meeting when he was informed about India s offer to provide aid.
"I told my Foreign Minister to thank his Indian counterpart for the aid," he said. Gilani noted that both Pakistanis and Indians had collected funds for the flood-affected people.
Pakistan has received a tremendous response from the world community in response to its call for aid for the flood victims and the government has proposed an independent council to oversee the transparent spending of funds, he said.
"The international community trusted us and that is why such huge aid is pouring in," he said.
Replying to a question, he said a stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan.
"We want a stable Afghanistan. We are part of the problem (over there) but also a part of the solution," he said. Gilani made it clear that Pakistan does "not interfere in Afghanistan's internal matters."
He said the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) would ensure the transparent utilisation of funds to be received as foreign aids and Prime Minister s Relief Fund. He said provinces were not agreed to the centralisation of funds so the proposal of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif regarding a commission was not applicable. He said it was time to unite the nation and the matters should not be politicised. PTI