Kingsley pledges to help raise funds for quake victims

British actor Ben Kingsley today promised to help raise funds to assist victims of a powerful earthquake in Pakistan last year that killed about 87,000 people and left millions homeless.

Kingsley, on a visit to Pakistan, praised efforts by the Pakistani government to handle the aftermath of the magnitude-7.6 quake on October 8, which flattened entire villages in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir and surrounding areas.

Kingsley met with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad, the prime minister’s press office said in a statement.

Aziz said Kingsley’s visit to the quake zone would help draw the attention of the world community to the continuing need for assistance in rehabilitating and rebuilding quake-hit areas, the statement said.

“Sir Ben assured the prim minister that he would join the Pakistan government’s efforts to raise more funds for the (quake) victims,” it said.

The statement did not say whether Kingsley had already visited the quake zone or would travel there soon. Officials at Aziz’s press office were not available for comment.

Kingsley, 62, has won many awards for his acting, including the best actor Academy Award for his role in the 1980 movie Gandhi.

He received a knighthood in 2002.

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