No threat of attacks on foreign relief workers: Rehman Malik

August 27th, 2010 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Aug 27 (IANS) Interior Minister Rehman Malik has allayed apprehensions that militants could target workers of international humanitarian agencies involved in relief efforts in flood-affected Pakistan.

Malik told BBC here Friday that the government had not received reports of any such threats from the security agencies.

“In case there is a concrete threat, the government has complete capacity to ward it off,” he stressed.

Media reports had earlier conveyed fears of the US officials that militants in Pakistan could attack foreigners offering assistance in the aftermath of devastating floods in Pakistan.

“According to information available to the US government, militants plan to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan,” a US official in Washington had said.

“Militants may also be making plans to attack federal and provincial ministers in Islamabad,” the official warned.

Pakistan has been severely affected by flash floods that started from Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa July 28 and washed away infrastructure in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces as well. The floods have left more than 1,600 dead and over 20 million displaced.

US officials had earlier said they had not encountered any hostilities in flying aid to stricken parts of the country, where resentment towards the US is prevalent because of the ongoing “war against terror” and drone strikes.

Despite the warnings of possible attacks, a senior US general overseeing the American military’s relief efforts in northern Pakistan had told reporters that US forces had faced no security problems.

“We have seen no security threat whatsoever in the three weeks we have been operating here,” Brigadier General Michael Nagata had mentioned Wednesday.

Rehman Malik also dispelled the impression that banned militant outfits were involved in relief efforts in flood-hit areas.

Information Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Mian Iftikhar Hussain has also rejected claims that Taliban were planning attacks on relief workers in northwestern Pakistan.

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