US aid to Pakistan worth ‘peanuts, not billions of dollars’: Ex-minister ridicules Trump

Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ridiculed President Donald Trump’s  claim that the United States has paid Pakistan “billions and billions of dollars” in aid.

Calling on the Pakistani government to put on the table the record of past 20 years to “expose American claims,” Nisar said “It’s not billions of dollars, it is peanuts.”

The former interior minister while speaking in the National Assembly also lambasted the strategy announced by Trump for Afghanistan and South Asia, saying Pakistan was not responsible for the failure of US and its allies in Afghanistan.

Nisar said that the Coalition Support Fund paid by US is for the services rendered by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

He said that the US drags its feet during the payment of the military fund, adding, “If our bill [for military services] is $500 million, they [US] sit on it for months… and end up giving us $200 million.”

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appreciated the unity displayed by the government and opposition lawmakers in responding to Trump’s statement.

“These speeches go to show that Pakistan has rejected Trump’s statement with unity.”

“Trump said that Pakistan is not doing enough in the war against terrorism, but tell me one nation that has paid a higher price of this war,” Qureshi said.

“Our army, our police, even our own people, have lost their lives in this war; no other country can say they have done as much.”

He said Pakistan thanks the US for the assistance it has given to the former, but both sides should sit down and “tabulate the amount of money that has been given to us and of everything that has been taken from us. Let us calculate the amount and then see who has spent more”.

Trump used his August 21 speech to announce the new strategy, which denounced Pakistan for allegedly allowing terrorists to maintain safe havens inside its territory. It also gave India a bigger role in Afghanistan, stoking fears in Islamabad that India would use this opportunity for stirring troubles in the bordering areas of Pakistan.

Talking tough on Pakistan, Trump had said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations,” warning that vital aid to Islamabad could be cut.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump had said. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”

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