British PM Tony Blair sympathizes with Britons of Pakistani descent

Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday expressed sympathy with Britons of Pakistani descent who have lost friends and relatives in the earthquake that struck South Asia.

"I know that there will be many British families who will have lost friends and relatives and we all express our deep sadness and condolences at this loss," he said at a news conference. "There will be others living with dreadful uncertainty."

Blair said he had offered Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf Britain's condolences for the tens of thousands of deaths caused by Saturday's 7.6-magnitude earthquake.

"The scale of this tragedy is becoming more apparent by the day," Blair said. "This was a devastating earthquake which struck a remote part of the region, which has made the relief effort all the more difficult. Sadly there have also been casualties in India and Afghanistan, but it is Pakistan that has been hit hardest."

Britain has pledged around 1 million pounds (US$1.8 million; Ђ1.5 million) worth of assistance, including 9 tons of relief supplies. Blair's office says the British government will also pay for further supplies donated to charities to be transported to the region.


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