WASHINGTON: The US Agency for International Development has moved quickly to reject a report, which started a new round of Pakistan bashing in the American media, with some outlets calling Pakistanis ungrateful.
The media report claimed that the US assistance to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country’s own spending. They based their claim on a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, misinterpreting the figures cited in this research piece for Congress.
First reported by the Christian Science Monitor, the claim was soon picked up by other US media outlets, pointing out that while the United States was doing so much for the country, Pakistanis continued to hate America.
But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the USAID, told US National Public Radio, which also reported the claim, that they were wrong. “The government of Pakistan has pledged $91 million specifically for flood relief.
“USAID has pledged $134.6 million for humanitarian assistance to Pakistan, but only a fraction of that money is for flood relief,” Mr Edwards said.
“I don’t have the exact figure for flood relief, but it’s more like $100, 000,” he added.
Comparing US assistance with the Pakistani government’s relief funds, he said, was like comparing “apples and oranges, which creates an inaccurate portrayal of our assistance”.
The US media, however, had accurately pointed out that for the third consecutive year, Pakistan was experiencing major seasonal flooding that, while not as severe as that of 2010 and 2011, had resulted in more than 430 deaths and had affected nearly 4.8 million people with deteriorated living conditions.