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Pakistani Religious Party Protests Government Response To Flood Victims

Pakistani military personnel evacuate flood survivors in Ghotki district on August 12.

Pakistani military personnel evacuate flood survivors in Ghotki district on August 12.

A key Pakistani religious party says it will not attend a provincial government conference of political and religious parties to discuss the devastation caused by the floods, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, said on August 13 the conference would be held in Peshawar on August 14.

But the Jamaat-e Islami religious party is refusing to attend in protest of what it calls the provincial government's failure to help people in the flood-affected areas. Hussain said he had urged the party to reconsider its decision.

"We have invited all the parties, now it depends on them whether they attend the conference or not," he said. "As this is not a political problem and a joint problem of our people, they should not play it as a political problem and join the conference in the interest of our people."

As to the problem of distributing aid, Hussain told Radio Mashaal that the central government had so far not given any materials to the provincial government.

He said a "rough estimate" of damage in the province was 2 billion rupees ($23 million). "We want the people, the central government, and the international community to assist us," he added.

"Nothing has been given to us by the central government. Perhaps the central government does not have money, but whatever is available to them, they should pay its due share to the province."

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government says 95 percent of the province has been affected by the floods, with many acres of agricultural land either submerged or swept away.

The central government has said the real figures regarding the scale of the damage are lower.