2 Sep 2010

Rich landowners accused of diverting floodwaters

9:47 pm on 2 September 2010

A senior Pakistani diplomat has called for an inquiry into allegations that rich landowners diverted water during recent flooding to save their own crops.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations says there is evidence that landowners allowed embankments to be burst so the waters flowed away from their land.

Abdullah Hussain Haroon says he supports calls for a judicial inquiry into the accusations against rich landowners, including a government minister, the BBC reports.

Mr Haroon would not be drawn on intense criticism of the government's response to the flooding, or on calls by a senior politician urging a military coup to deal with the crisis.

He did admit that in Pakistan the army is seen as the institution of last resort, but said he hoped matters had not reached that stage.

More than 1,600 people have died in the floods, which have affected about 17 million people.

The flood waters are beginning to drain away to the Arabian Sea but inundations continue in parts of Sindh province.