New Forest East

DFID – PAKISTANI TALIBAN – 7 September 2010

Dr Julian Lewis: May I ask my right hon. Friend to focus a little more closely on the second point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South West (Paul Uppal)? Was the Secretary of State as appalled and disgusted as I was to hear of the threats being issued by the Pakistani Taliban to murder "infidel" aid workers who presume to try and help their fellow countrymen? I know that his emphasis must be on the relief of suffering at the moment, but when that issue has moved further forward, will he have conversations with Foreign Office Ministers on how best to make it clear to the Pakistani people in future what sort of atrocious attitude and immorality is rife among those who say that people who want to help the people of Pakistan ought to be murdered?

[The Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Andrew Mitchell): My hon. Friend makes an eloquent contribution and I can assure him that we discuss on a regular basis these and every other matter related to the emergency in Pakistan with colleagues right across Whitehall. It seems to me that in confronting the specific issue he raised, it must be right to try to ensure that the international community and the Government of Pakistan get the relief as effectively as possible to the people who are earnestly waiting for it because they have been cut off from it. In a sense, that is the answer to his question about what the international community can do to combat the malign influences that he described.]