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'We Have Not Sought Help From India': Bilawal Bhutto on Pakistan Floods

On 29 August, PM Narendra Modi sent his condolences to the people affected due to the floods in Pakistan.

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'We Have Not Sought Help From India': Bilawal Bhutto on Pakistan Floods
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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister of flood-struck Pakistan on Friday, 16 September, said that they "have not sought help from India." Massive floods in Pakistan have resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,300 people and over 5 lakh people being displaced.

Bhutto said this while he was at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan.

"We have not sought help from India. We are helping our people & many have come forward to help Pakistan. Relief and rescue operations are underway," Bhutto told news agency ANI.

This comes after several reports surfaced earlier this month claiming that India is reportedly looking at options to offer humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.

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On 29 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his condolences to the people affected due to the floods in Pakistan.

"Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy," Modi said.

The tweet did not reveal any information about the aid which India has sent, or is planning to send to Pakistan.

On 31 August, Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif has replied to Modi's tweet thanking him for condolences, but there was no mention of any or support from India.

"I thank PM Narendra Modi for condolences over the human & material losses caused by floods. With their characteristic resilience the people of 🇵🇰 shall, InshaAllah, overcome the adverse effects of this natural calamity & rebuild their lives and communities," Sharif said.

However, according to a report by The Indian Express, India was reportedly looking at options to offer humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.
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Duty-Free Import From India

In a press conference on 29 August, Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the government could consider "importing vegetables and other edible items from India,” The Dawn reported.

“We will open duty-free import, make it easier and I also want to say that we will consider importing through the land border with India because these prices (of vegetables) are not sustainable,” he said.

On 31 August, he tweeted, "More than one international agency has approached the govt to allow them to bring food items from India through the land border. The govt will take the decision to allow imports or not based on supply shortage position, after consulting its coalition partners & key stakeholders."

A week later, a report by Business Standard, citing multiple officials and sources involved in the distribution, said that India is fully prepared to send bilateral relief and aid material to flood-ravaged Pakistan as soon as it receives the green signal from Islamabad. It further added that talks between both nations on the subject have petered out after India signalled its willingness to help earlier last week.

(With inputs from ANI, The Indian Express, The Dawn, and Business Standard.)

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