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Pakistan Center for Philanthropy

Advocacy Group says US should expand IDPs aid to $ one billion
Associated Press of Pakistan - May 25, 2009

WASHINGTON, May 25 (APP): An advocacy group working on the Capitol Hill has urged the United States to expand its assistance for more than two million displaced Pakistanis of Malakand region to $ one billion to help meet their escalating needs.

“In addition to the assistance required to provide basic services, there will be further assistance required to provide education and counseling to the children housed in the camps,” the Pakistani American Leadership Center said.

The PAL-C drew attention of both the U.S. Congress and administration to the urgent needs of internally displaced people, who are sacrificing the comfort of their homes in scenic Swat valley and nearby areas to live under scorching weather in camps.

The appeal came as the Pakistani security forces fought the militants in the streets and vital intersections to get some strategic areas cleared of the Taliban militants that were making life difficult for the local people by imposing their own parochial code of life.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to the Unite States Husain Haqqani will host members of Pakistani American community this week to mobilize support for the people of Swat. According to Mossadaq Chughtai, a noted PAL-C founding director, children living in the camps need particular attention as they have been uprooted from their homes and face traumatic experience.

Another Pakistani American Organization “Friends of Pakistan” has also launched a fund-raising campaign to marshal resources that would help Islamabad take care of the largest migration of people the country is witnessing since its independence in 1947.

The Obama administration and the Pakistani embassy in Washington have been encouraging the Americans to contribute to relief assistance through the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Refugees (UNHCR) by taking part in a text messaging initiative announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week.

Anyone living in the United States can contribute $ 5 (five dollars) to the UNHCR by texting “Swat” to number 20222.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has also asked President Barack Obama to significantly expand American humanitarian assistance as part of efforts to help Pakistan look after the displaced people properly.

Secretary Clinton last week announced $ 110 million humanitarian aid for the internationally displaced people of Swat.



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