Pakistan sends food with beef masala to Nepal, blames Indian media for row

ISLAMABAD (TIP): Pakistan on Aprl 30 blamed the Indian media for maligning its relief efforts for survivors of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

According to media reports, the food items in relief aid sent by Pakistan to Nepal included beef content (beef masala) in the food packets. Eating beef is prohibited in Hindu religion. Nepal is a majority-Hindu nation.

During a weekly press briefing, Tasneem Aslam, Pakistan’s foreign office spokeswoman, said it was unfortunate that Indian media has not even spared a humanitarian mission and has, unnecessarily, tried to inject controversy into it.

“The Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) is a pre-packed kit of 20 items for a full day’s meals. On each and every packet inside the kit the name of the dish is clearly written in English and Urdu so that people may choose whatever they like to eat or discard,” she said.

“Both the languages are understood in Nepal,” she added.

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The Nepalese authorities, Tasneem Aslam said, found the MREs so effective that they specially requested for a full planeload of MREs on priority.

The Pakistan foreign office reaction came the same day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif contacted his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to offer condolences over the loss of lives and devastation caused by the earthquake in India.

Earlier, the spokesperson had said that she was not aware of the issue. “I am not responsible for the dispatch. The relief aid is sent by the National Disaster Management Authority,” Mail Today had quoted Aslam as saying.

The controversy started when packets with “beef masala” and “potato bhujia”, were found in the food aid package sent for quake survivors by Pakistan. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) sent the relief goods, according to the¬†official handout, in collaboration with the army, Pakistan air force and ministry of foreign affairs.

While the NDMA spokesman was not available to speak on the issue, another senior official requesting anonymity, said: “Beef and mutton are essential parts of the meal in most of the countries in Asia except large in India and Nepal which have a large Hindu population.”

“If beef masala was really sent to Nepal, it may have been out of negligence. But making it controversial is like the proverb ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’,” he added.

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