US supports civilian, democratically elected govt in Pakistan: Holbrooke

KARACHI, Sept 15 (APP) – The US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has emphatically stated that the United States supports civilian, democratically elected government in Pakistan.He was talking to media after a meeting with  Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, at the CM House here on Wednesday night.“We support a civilian, democratically elected government in Pakistan,” Holbrooke, a top US diplomat, remarked and reiterated it.He stated that we also worked closely with the Army which is part of that government.

Holbrooke, who had earlier visited the relief camp in the Thatta District on Wednesday afternoon, replying to a question spoke of the Kerry-Lugar Bill of $7.5 billion  and recalled that in July this year he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had visited   Islamabad and announced how we want to spend that money- water and electricity projects, health and education etc with the emphasis on energy and water.

Then the flood devastation came and so we went to the Congress which said to us to use the Kerry-Lugar-Berman money for the emergency relief, he added.
Holbrooke said, “We are switching some of the money and already switched dollars 50 million  and that as a result of this trip we will recommend to switch more.”
He said that he would talk to his colleagues regarding that and also the Government of Pakistan about the same.
Holbrooke said that this will mean that some of the planned projects of the Kerry-Lugar may have to be delayed because of the flood emergency in Pakistan.
He stated that the priority clearly is to deal with the crisis caused by the floods.Holbrooke praised the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to help the flood affectees.
He also lauded the excellent efforts by the Pakistan military in this respect.
Holbrooke pointed out that the United States flew American helicopters from a ship that had been brought in from the Persian Gulf, specifically to help Pakistan.
He said that 20 to 30 US helicopters are working for the flood relief efforts.
The US Special Representative  said that the US gave more assistance and faster than any other country but this is not going to be enough.
“Americans are opening up their hearts and their pockets to give money to Pakistan,” he remarked.
Richard Holbrooke said that Secretary of State Clinton is doing a great endeavour to help and that she will lead a US delegation to the United Nations this Sunday and “I (Holbrooke) will lead a delegation to the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) in Brussels in October.”
He stated that we have worked closely with the Congress to move money from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman account to flood relief with the support of Senator Kerry and his colleagues.
Holbrooke pointed out that Pakistan needs a massive international support and that we will continue to mobilise American and international support but the leadership must come from Islamabad and Karachi and from the people of Pakistan to set the priorities.
He stated that  the floods come in cycles as stated by the Provincial Minister for Irrigation, and as such he would recommend highest priority would be accorded to building new dams and rebuilding old dams, roads, bridges, schools, clinics.
Holbrooke further stated that the United States is also committed to help Pakistan.Holbrooke said that the United States is helping Pakistan in its moment of greatest need in the wake of  floods not because of the war on terror but because Pakistan needs help.
He stated that the US is part of the international coalition to help Pakistan- a great country, and there is a long history of close relations between Pakistan and the US.
Referring to the war on terror, Holbrooke pointed out that this is a mutual effort of Pakistani, American and other countries to deal with the enemies of peace, freedom, stability and democracy in this country.
He further pointed out the US do not have any troops in Pakistan except for right now some US military helicopters at the invitation of Pakistan government.
Holbrooke said that it is up to the government of Pakistan to deal with the problem in the tribal areas and the border areas and elsewhere. “But right now our focus is on the floods”, he further remarked.
Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, welcomed the top US diplomat.
Sindh Ministers Saifullah Dharejo and Syed Murad Ali Shah, and the US Consul General in Karachi  William Martin  were also present on the occasion – APP