PM Abbasi calls US financial aid “Insignificant”

Islamabad:  Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has declared himself mystified by the US threats to cut off funding, saying that Washington’s financial assistance was “very, very insignificant” and that Islamabad was “on the forefront of the war on terror”.

The Guardian quoted Abbasi as saying “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.”

“I am not sure what US aid has been talked here,” Mr Abbasi said in his office in Islamabad.

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

US President Donald Trump used his first tweet of 2018 to threaten to withhold aid to Pakistan because of what he called its “lies and deceit” over terrorism, claiming: “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.” The President said that the US had “foolishly” given Pakistan $33 billion over the past 15 years.

According to the US Agency for International Development, the US gave $778 million to Pakistan in assistance in 2016, of which 35 per cent was military and the rest economic.

Mr Abbasi rejected Mr Trump’s charge of duplicity over the fight against terrorism, calling his claim that Pakistan was harbouring terrorists a “fallacy”.

“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.

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