ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan will participate in an international telethon today to collect funds for the victims of massive floods which have claimed almost 1,000 lives and have left over 30 million without shelter across Pakistan.

In a video message on Sunday, the former prime minister said Pakistanis were suffering due to floods across the country that have affected a large number of people.

“I will hold a telethon at 9:30 pm today to collect funds for the flood victims from people within Pakistan and overseas Pakistanis. I want every Pakistani to contribute to the fund and donate as much as possible,” he said. Imran Khan said that a committee headed by PTI leader Dr Sania Nishtar will deal with all the matters related to donations and added that the body will have representation from all provinces. He said that the funds will be spent and distributed among those affected by floods.

It is worth mentioning that the PTI chief on Saturday announced to organise an international telethon for the flood victims.

“Our senior leadership met & we decided I would do international telethon to raise funds for flood affectees on Monday night. Imran Tigers will be activated to volunteer for relief work. A committee under Sania Nishtar will be set up to identify & coordinate funds allocation based on needs,” he had tweeted.

His change of heart came a day after he had expressed reluctance to participate in the fundraising campaign for the victims of the calamity. The former premier during a visit to Dera Ismail Khan had said he will not raise funds until he has a clear picture of whether the money will be spent fairly or not.

The former premier also faced criticism for “playing politics” over the issue of floods as Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal urged people to shun “such pessimism”. “Today, Imran [Khan] said that massive damage occurred because we did not build efficient infrastructure — this is a false statement… it is irresponsible and it should not happen,” the minister said on Saturday.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the PPP chief and foreign minister, had also called out the PTI chairman for his decision to go ahead with political gatherings in spite of massive floods in Pakistan. “It’s unfortunate the politicking is taking place despite the devastation of this magnitude caused by the rains.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2022

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