Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 24 October 2001.

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Photo of Lord Sandberg Lord Sandberg Liberal Democrat 4:30, 24 October 2001

My Lords, I am particularly pleased that in the Statement this afternoon a lot of weight was put on the problems facing Pakistan, because although that country is--temporarily, I hope--suspended from the Commonwealth gatherings it is a well-founded member of the Commonwealth. When the Prime Minister was in Islamabad not long after the 11th September, when Pakistan very bravely said it was going to be a full member in the battle against the terrorists, he had a long talk with General Musharraf. Mention was made at the time of the debt which is owed by Pakistan. Only last week the USA has either rescheduled or forgiven part of the debt, and it behoves us to be proactive in helping Pakistan with its debts. I hope the Minister will make this clear. Finance Minister Shaukiat was due to visit England about a fortnight ago. His trip has been momentarily cancelled, but I hope that he will be coming fairly soon.

Lastly, I think that there is a misunderstanding. I do not think that the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, spoke about the Taliban looking after refugee camps in Pakistan. There would be no question of the Taliban being allowed to run such places in Pakistan itself.