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Time to bid farewell to US aid: Shahbaz Sharif

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Islamabad, Aug 26 (IANS) Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, has said it’s time to bid farewell to US aid in the wake of “exaggerated statements” about the financial help both at local and international levels.

“The exaggerated comments being made in the national and international discourse regarding the US aid to Pakistan are tantamount to rubbing salt into the wounds of Pakistanis suffering terrorism, poverty and backwardness,” Sharif said in a statement on Friday.

He said it was time Islamabad closed the chapter of the US aid by politely saying “thank you” (for the help).

“That’s the only way the nation can avert such jibes,” Sharif was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

The Chief Minister’s statement comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s accusation that Pakistan has been undermining Washington’s “war against terror” despite receiving billions of dollars in aid.

“It is time for Pakistan to politely and gratefully close the chapter on the US assistance so that the bilateral relationship can be freed from the shadow of repeated contemptuous taunts.

“Pakistani people craved the opportunity to be treated fairly and honourably and remain committed to contributing to the world peace and prosperity,” Sharif said.

He acknowledged the US help in improving Pakistan’s health, education and other service delivery areas, but added that no country should see its generosity as a justification to make “unfair accusations and demands of the Pakistani people”, the report said.

Meanwhile, there were demonstrations across the country on Friday against Trump’s statement.

In Lahore, thousands protested outside the US consulate and staged a sit-in while demanding that Islamabad severe diplomatic ties with Washington and suspend Nato supplies.

They also demanded that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif cancel his proposed US visit and that India-Afghan transit trade must be closed.

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