UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed sympathy with the victims of the severe heat-wave in Karachi, and offered UN help to cope with the serious situation if requested by the Government of Pakistan, a world body spokesman said.

"The Secretary-General sympathizes with the affected people and hopes their sufferings would come to an end soon," Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq said in reply to a question from a Pakistani journalist at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. He said so far there has been request for UN assistance, noting that hundreds of people have died from unprecedented heat. "If we are called upon to help, we'll respond."

Meanwhile, members of the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum [PUFF] demonstrated in front of the Pakistani Consulate General in New York to show solidarity with the people of Karachi.

They carried placards denouncing Pakistani government's failure to help the stricken people, and pledging to contribute to the relief efforts.

"Our hearts go out for the suffering people of Karachi. They are in our thoughts," Comrade Shahid, Secretary-General of the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum [PUFF], said.