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Pakistan's Haroon, Faster on Floods Than His Own Gov't, to Leave UN Posting in NY

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- As Pakistan raises money in the UN General Assembly, including a $60 million pledge from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the recent bragging by its Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon that he was faster than his own government took on new meaning.

On August 11, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Haroon about the response to the floods by the UN and its envoy, Jean Maurice Ripert. While being dismissive of Ripert, Haroon also said that while his government hadn't responded until Monday, “we here in New York,” meaning he himself, had been working with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs since the previous Thursday. Video here.

   Now Pakistani sources tell Inner City Press that Haroon had known that he must leave the New York posting as early as the end of this month. With his bow tie, white hat and cane and impeccable British accent, the removal or rotation out appears to have led to resentment.

At UN, Haroon with bow tie and Holmes, return not shown

  How else to explain a country's UN Ambassador bragging on camera he was faster than his own government and employer? Watch this site.

Meanwhile Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, asked if his government would accept India's offer of $5 million in aid, said that the decision has not been made yet. Some wonder how a country can be asking money from others while leaving on the table $5 million, no matter how possibly cynically the aid may have been offered. Then again, then NYC Mayor Guiliani turned down Middle Eastern offers after 9/11/01.

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In Pakistan, UN Is Denied Access to Areas But Stays Silent, Won't Urge Acceptance of Aid from India

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- Amid the fundraising for flooded Pakistan on August 19, world Humanitarian Day, the politicization of the UN's operations also became clear.

  The UN's Martin Mogwanja provided a telephone briefing, in which Inner City Press asked about top UN humanitarian John Holmes' recent statement about parts of the country to which the UN had no access. Video here, from Minute 33:41.

Since Mogwanja insisted that the government has full control of all areas of the country, how did this square with Holmes statement, and for example the U.S. drone stikes in North Waziristan?

  Mogwanja replied that these were not contradictory, that the government has “full control” of all areas, but blocks the UN's access due to its security operations.

Leaving aside whether the government can be said to control sealed off areas into which another country fires drone missiles, one wonders why the UN has not complained publicly about the denial of humanitarian access, as it complains elsewhere.

Inner City Press asked Mogwanja, as the UN humanitarian coordinator, for his view on Pakistan's refusal until now of a $5 million offer of aid from India. Given Mogwanja's and Holmes' statements about humanitarian needs trumping politics, one expected an answer along the lines of, “aid should generally be taken, when people are facing death.”

Instead, Mogwanja replied that “each government is free to decided what to contribute, equally each government is free to decide what it will accept.” He called it a decision for sovereign governments, nor for a UN humanitarian coordinator.

But wasn't the role of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to publicly prioritize civilians needs over the dilatory politics of governments?

UN's Ban in Pakistan, denial of humanitarian access not shown

Inner City Press asked about Ban Ki-moon's envoy to Pakistan Jean Maurice Ripert. Mogwanja insisted that Ripert had returned from his overseas travels “as soon as the flood took place.”

Not so. From July 29 -- the date Mogwanja used -- to August 4, Ripert was AWOL. On August 2, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman where Ripert was. It's not about an individual, spokesman Martin Nesirky answered. On August 4, Ban called for Ripert to return to Pakistan. That is one week, hardly “as soon as.”

Mogwanja said that in the coming weeks and months the government of Pakistan will hold events closely coordinated by Ripert. We'll see - watch this site.

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 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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