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‘Pakistan not to seek foreign aid after deadly earthquake’

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Islamabad: Pakistani Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Tuesday that the country would not seek international aid for the people affected by the powerful earthquake that killed nearly 250 people and displaced thousands of others.

Monday’s earthquake struck most parts of Pakistan but caused more damage in the northwestern parts of the country, officials said.

Pakistani authorities are still in the process of damage assessment as the tremors hit remote and mountainous regions and getting complete information will take more time.

Rashid said the government has the resources to deal with the situation and will not appeal for international aid.

“We have all the required items and there is no need to call for foreign aid,” the minister told a news conference in Islamabad.

The minister’s statement came after the international community offered assistance.

Rashid, who accompanied Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to an area worst affected by the earthquake in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday, said Sharif personally reviewed the rescue and relief operations. He said the prime minister met the affected people and got briefings on damage and relief activities.

The information minister said that banned groups would not be allowed to raise funds for the quake-affected people as these groups achieve their goals under the pretext of charity work.

Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Major General Asghar Nawaz, said that all sensitive installations were completely safe.

He confirmed that 248 deaths have been reported from different parts of the country so far while 1,665 people were injured. About 4,392 houses were also damaged in the earthquake, he told a press conference.

Asghar Nawaz said the earthquake has badly affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining tribal regions.

Civil and military rescue and relief teams are busy in different areas and the affected people are being provided food, blankets, tents and medicines, he added.

—IANS