Pak officials diverted foreign funds meant for PoK

"As the money was not forthcoming, schools, hospitals, buses and roads planned to come up with money given by foreign governments and international aid groups remain unbuilt almost five years after the earthquake which killed 80,000 and left four million people homeless," The Daily Telegraph reported today quoting senior Pakistani officials.

The damning report comes as Pakistani leadership is clamouring for millions of dollars in international aid to cope with the country's worst ever calamity in which 20 million people are affected by floods.

The paper said international donors gave 3.5 billion pounds to rebuild vast swaths of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces after the earthquake destroyed the region's infrastructure.

However, senior Pakistani officials said more than 300 million pounds given in aid has yet to be handed over to the country's Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).

Telegraph cited a senior ERRA official as saying that they were told in March 2009 that 90 million pounds was being diverted from their budget to other government projects.
"When we have the money we will pay you," officials told ERRA directors. In June again their budget was cut from 43 billion rupees to just 10 billion.

The diversion of money has come in for strong condemnation by the Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who said, "There's reluctance, even people in this country  even people in this country are not giving generously into this flood fund because they're not too sure the money will be spent honestly."

The paper said it had surveyed Balakot town, one of the worst affected in 2005 earthquake where 25,000 people died and the people were told that their township would be rebuilt.

"But despite promises that the new town would be completed by last month, not a single road has been completed nor building construction began on the site of new Balakot," The Telegraph said.

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