CPEC long-term project of prosperity
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi terming the US aid “very, very insignificant”, 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 nation’s leadership and people.
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.
“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 from across the border. Pakistan has won the war against terror on its own territory,” Abbasi underlined.
In an interview with a television channel, Abbasi categorically stated that the government will complete its tenure and the next general elections will be held on time.
To a question about FATA, he said PML-N government started work on FATA reforms and it will take it to a logical conclusion. “The issue should be resolved through consensus. He said the government is committed to bring FATA into mainstream”, he added.
To a question, he 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 (CPEC) 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.
In another interview with the British newspaper Guardian, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says he is mystified by the US threats to cut off funding to Pakistan.
He said the reports that the US was considering cuts of up to two billion dollar in security assistance were bewildering because the total aid, civilian and military, Pakistan actually received was a tiny fraction of that amount.
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.
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.—INP