US aid not very important for Pakistan as it received just $10 mn of financial assistance in 5yrs: says PM Abbasi

 
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ISLAMABAD, Jan 07 (TNS): Pakistan has received less than $10 million in terms of financial assistance in the past five years, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, terming it “very, very insignificant”.

Speaking to a British media outlet, Abbasi explained that the American aid is not very important to Pakistan, which is waging the war against terrorism using its own resources.

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

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

“We are today fighting the largest war on terror in the world. We are fighting the world’s war on terror with our own resources… That is something the world has to appreciate.

“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.Prime Minister said tens of thousands of civilians and men in uniform have been killed in the war on terror with the loss of over 120 bn US dollars to economy. So the world has to appreciate that. We just want the world to know that Pakistan is on the forefront oF the war on this terror.

The prime minister said today we are fighting terrorists so if somebody says we are harbouring terrorists, there is no greater fallacy. He said we have engaged US at every level from President Trump down. He said we have explained to them what Pakistan has done and we have explained to the rest of the world also.

He said 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.Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi categorically stated that the government will complete its tenure and the next general elections will be held on time.

He said that the people of the country will elect their representatives on the basis of performance in the next general elections.

To a question about FATA, he said PML-N government started work on FATA reforms and it will take it to a logical conclusion. He said the issue should be resolved through consensus. He said the government is committed to bring FATA into mainstream.

Replying to a question, the Prime Minister said that the overall law and order situation in all parts of the country particularly in Karachi has significantly improved.To a question, he said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor project is the biggest investment in the history of the country. He said it is not a mere road connectivity project but a long term development process for the prosperity of the country initiated by collaboration between Pakistan and China.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan is a sovereign country and it has always abided by international conventions. He said we are today fighting the largest war on terror in the world. We are fighting the world’s war on terror with our own resources. That is something the world has to appreciate.