Islamabad, Aug 25: Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has contributed $100,000 (about Pakistani Rs.8.5 million) for flood ravaged Pakistan, a move that surpasses President Asif Ali Zardari’s Rs.5 million donation and the help extended by most other politicians.
Some leaders have refused to disclose their contribution to the relief effort and claimed that their donation had gone directly to their party’s fund.
Dawn reported Wednesday that Jolie has contributed $100,000 while Zardari and Altaf Hussain, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, claimed to have donated Rs.5 million each.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and top leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F have not made donations in cash; instead, they donated in kind.
“The prime minister has already said that he does not believe in cash contribution and thus he did not deposit money in the fund, but his son in Multan dispatched many trucks of goods on behalf of the family,” Dawn quoted the prime minister’s press secretary Shabir Anwar as saying.
The floods started July 28 with heavy monsoon rains and went on to submerge thousands of villages, wash away hundreds of kilometres of roads, dozens of bridges and over 1.7 million acres of crops.
The country’s worst natural disaster has killed over 1,600 people and affected about 20 million nationwide, with the threat of disease ever-present in the camps sheltering survivors.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said: “During his recent visit to the UK, President Zardari announced Rs.2.5 million in donation and after his return he contributed another Rs.2.5 million to the prime minister’s flood relief fund.”
He added that Zardari’s children – Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto, Bakhtawar Zardari and Asifa Zardari – had set up a fund in Britain to collect donation from overseas Pakistanis and others.
Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and their family have reportedly handed over goods worth Rs.25 million. But there was no contribution in cash.
“Sharif family has sent relief goods amounting to Rs.25 million to flood-hit areas,” said PML-N spokesperson Siddiqul Farooq.
He criticised President Zardari for contributing just Rs.5 million.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N, has told his party members to donate to the Punjab chief minister’s relief fund instead of the prime minister’s fund.
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s monetary help stood at Rs.500,000.
“Khan donated Rs.500,000 from his own pocket. He and the party are actively participating in fund-raising campaigns,” PTI’s spokesperson Tahir Jamil said, and added that Khan would take 300 trucks carrying relief goods to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sunday.
The contribution of PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his family was Rs.25 million in kind.
“Relief goods have been dispatched to Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and other parts of Punjab,” said Mustafa Malik, PML-Q’s deputy information secretary.