Menu
Archives

Pakistan's ambassador to U.S. thanks Church members for humanitarian assistance

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Pakistan can provide an opportunity for people of all faiths to work together and strengthen one another in desperate times, said that nation's ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani visited Church headquarters Sept. 14, just days after the Church shipped thousands of tons of relief supplies to Pakistan to assist the estimated 20 million Pakistani severely impacted by catastrophic flooding. (See report on this page.) The ambassador visited with the First Presidency before meeting with the local media to thank members who helped make the Church's recent humanitarian shipment possible through their contributions.

"We are grateful for the LDS Church," he said.

Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid
Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid sent to flood victims in Pakistan. | Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, right, speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitar
Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, right, speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid sent to flood victims in Pakistan. Lynn Samsel, Director of Humanitarian Services for the Church, is at the right. | Michael Brandy, Deseret News

Nearly a quarter of the people living in the heavily populated Middle-Eastern nation of Pakistan have been impacted by the historic flooding. Some eight million children have been displaced. The ambassador noted that the number of people affected by the ongoing disaster in his country is larger than the combined totals affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2005 quake in Pakistan.

"There are areas [in Pakistan] where 80 years of infrastructure were washed away," he said.

Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, left, talks with, Lynn Samsel, Director of Humanitarian Service
Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, left, talks with, Lynn Samsel, Director of Humanitarian Services for the Church, prior to a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid sent to flood victims in Pakistan. | Michael Brandy, Deseret News

The ambassador spoke of the warmth he felt while meeting with President Thomas S. Monson his counselors, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, who pledged further support for Pakistan in the future. Ambassador Haqqani is no stranger to Salt Lake City or Church headquarters. He visited with the First Presidency in 2008 and toured Church sites such as Welfare Square and Temple Square. A self-described history buff, Ambassador Haqqani said he appreciates the story and experience of the Mormon Church.

The ambassador added that the catastrophe in Pakistan has not been as visible as recent natural disasters in places such as Haiti, perhaps because the death toll has not reached similar heights. Still, the humanitarian needs in Pakistan are severe, ongoing and are larger than politics or religious differences. He asked for continued support from those who can help. "This is an opportunity to show our humanity."

Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid
Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani speaks during a press conference regarding LDS humanitarian aid sent to flood victims in Pakistan. | Michael Brandy, Deseret News

The assistance offered by the Church and other charitable groups and individuals, he said, can send a message to the people of the affected regions that the ongoing American war against terrorism — which Pakistan supports — is not a battle against Islam, as some extremist groups would argue. The generosity of good-hearted people "will help make the case in Pakistan that this extremist ideology is wrong."

The flooding crisis in Pakistan will not be resolved quickly. After the immediate, life-sustaining needs of disaster victims are met, the Pakistani government and its partners will tackle the long-term challenges of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Ambassador Haqqani said the flooding has exacted a "massive" economic impact in the affected regions. Entire crop harvests have been destroyed and seeds set aside for future planting have been washed away.

jswensen@desnews.com

Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed