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Sunday Jan 07 2018
Web Desk

American aid to Pakistan 'very, very insignificant': PM Abbasi

Web Desk

Pakistan has received less than $10 million in terms of financial assistance in the past five years, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, terming the US aid “very, very insignificant”.

PM Abbasi, in an interview to the Guardian, said that the American aid is not very important to Pakistan, which is waging the war against terrorism using its own resources, and is "on the forefront of the war on terror".

The war on terrorism has cost the Pakistani economy $120 billion, the premier added, stressing that the global forces have been unable to control terrorists in Afghanistan.

US President Donald Trump, in a tweet on New Year Day, threatened Islamabad with a suspension of financial aid. The US had "foolishly" given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years, Trump tweeted, adding that the country gives "safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help".

The US then announced to cut aid worth $255 million to Islamabad, with Heather Nauert — the spokesperson for the Department of State — saying, "We can confirm that we are suspending security assistance only to Pakistan at this time".

America's decision to pull Pakistan's financial assistance has evoked a strong response, both among the nations' leadership, top officials, and the public as well as security and strategy analysts.

But PM Abbasi was unsure "what US aid has been talked here”, he told the Guardian.

“The aid in the last five years at least has been less than $10m a year. It is a very, very insignificant amount. So when I read in the paper that aid at the level of $250m or 500 or 900 has been cut, we at least are not aware of that aid.”

In 2016, Pakistan received $778 million from the US in assistance, of which 35% was military and the remaining 65% for economic measures, as per US Agency for International Development (USAID) data.

The premier was also surprised at the irony of Trump's allegation that Pakistan harbours terrorist elements.

“We have over 6,500 [killed] almost 37,000 of the civilian population has been killed. There are tens of thousands of people injured. We have suffered a loss of over $120bn in our economy. So the world has to appreciate that. We just want the world to know that Pakistan is on the forefront on the war on this terror.

“Today we are fighting terrorists. So if somebody says we are harbouring terrorists, there is no greater fallacy,” he noted.

“We have engaged US at every level from President Trump down. We have explained to them ... [whatever] Pakistan has done, we have explained to the rest of the world.

“[It is] the rest of the world failed in Afghanistan to control terrorists who today attack Pakistan across the border. Pakistan has won the war against terror on its own territory,” Abbasi underlined.


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