Pakistan awards large housing project to Mannar Muslim families
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 02:15
Extends $ 1 m in Muslim IDP support
220 Mannar Muslim IDP families to get new houses
“Our thanks to Pakistan”: Rishad
“We remembered you!”: Pakistan’s Qureshi
A 220-strong housing scheme was awarded by the Government of Pakistan for the Muslim IDP families of Mannar District on 12 October.
“This 220 housing project is funded by the Government of Pakistan. During the last few decades, when your country was going through a difficult time, the Government and the people of Pakistan were very concerned about this difficult situation. During that time, we remembered you and made whatever the contribution from our side to fight the difficult challenge,” said two-star Major General (R) Qassim Qureshi, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Qureshi was addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new housing scheme in Puthukkudiyirippu village, Mannar District. Also taking part in the event were Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Governor of the Northern Province Major General G.A. Chandrasiri and Minister of Industry and Commerce and Vanni MP Rishad Bathiudeen.
Addressing the event, Qureshi said: “I wish to appreciate how the challenge was taken up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government of Sri Lanka by valiantly fighting against this issue and overcoming it. In 2013 March when I came to Mannar, Minister Bathiudeen invited me to his house and briefed me about the difficult situation (faced by Muslim IDPs) in the Northern Province and also made another special effort in April ’13 to bring us Ambassadors to Mannar to visit the villages and to view the difficulties faced by these people.
“When Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff visited Sri Lanka in November 2014, we briefed him about the tremendous progress in rehabilitation work in the Northern Province and requested him to give Pakistani assistance to it, to which he gladly agreed. As a result, he allocated a small amount to help this housing project. I also greatly appreciate the efforts of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa; when we discussed with him, he was more than willing to join this project.”
“Today is a very important and historic occasion in the village of Puthukkudiyirippu in the Mannar District. The people of Puthukkudiyirippu have undergone severe hardships and difficulties. They have been living elsewhere without proper shelters,” said Minister Bathiudeen, addressing the event.
He added: “Today we are laying the foundation to construct 220 houses to initially resettle 220 families. There are 550 families who are in need of shelter in the village. In future, we will find avenues to provide houses to the rest of the families too. I am very thankful to Major General Qassim Qureshi and his Embassy officials for attending this historic occasion. On behalf of the people of Puthukkudiyirippu, I extend my warmest appreciation for the Government of Pakistan for its ongoing support to develop this province.
“On this occasion, I also wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to Nawaz Sheriff, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, for allocating sufficient funds to construct these 200 houses in response to my letter forwarded to him through Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne. I also thank Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa for accepting my invitation and attending this function, even though he is a very busy Minister. He was in the forefront in resettling of the 350,000 persons immediately after the end of war in May 2009. This immense task was completed within a very short period. Minister Rajapaksa is very keen to re-settle all the people in the north.”
In the aftermath of the 1989 northern Muslim displacements, more than 550 Muslim IDP families which were displaced from Puthukkudiyirippu village returned to the village within one year of the incident and to date languish in huts in the village; 220 of them were awarded houses by the Government of Pakistan while new infrastructure including a health clinic, school, electricity and land (10 perches per house) are provided by the Government of Sri Lanka.