Punjab says no to foreign aid

LAHORE: The Punjab Cabinet on Monday decided to reject foreign aid and its recommendation will be sent to PML Quaid Nawaz Sharif so that the party gives final approval to the decision after thorough reflection.The cabinet also gave approval to three amendment bills of the Board of Revenue with regard to devolution of powers in the wake of the 18th Amendment and the amendments in the Punjab Privilege Act (Provincial Assembly) 1972.In his post-cabinet briefing to the media at the Civil Secretariat, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif demanded of the nation to say no to foreign aid, which had proven to be a ‘poison’ for the national sovereignty and its integrity. “We have traded our sovereignty by accepting foreign aid, which is not required for welfare of the masses rather for luxurious lifestyle,” he said, adding that people had to break the ‘begging bowl’ to live as an independent nation.While mentioning that being the biggest province of Pakistan, the Punjab cabinet had decided not to accept the foreign aid, he eulogised his elder brother Nawaz Sharif for not bowing to foreign pressure on the issue of nuclear blasts. “Problems and hardships after the decision will prove to be transitory,” he assured.Shahbaz Sharif said in order to live as an independent and sovereign nation, reliance on foreign aid would have to be given up. He averred that it was high time to break the begging bowl and achieve self-reliance in the interest of complete independence. He said the Punjab cabinet had decided to give a practical shape to the resolve.The CM said though refusal to foreign aid was not easy, but it was the heart’s desire of every Pakistani from Khyber to Karachi. He said he was confident that the decision taken by Punjab would prove to be a starting point of a national movement for economic independence, national sovereignty and security of the country. “The decision to give up foreign aid does not mean that relations with other countries should be impaired, but it is aimed to promote trade instead of aid, and shun the habit of reliance on others for correcting mistakes of the past,” he said, while asking the elite to make sacrifices.

From the nation, he demanded revision of priorities if it wanted to live with honour and dignity. “Whether it was the issue of Raymond Davis, drone attacks or Abbotabad incident, the nation held the key to solution of all such problems. “Orders from abroad have aggravated rather than resolve problems. Some foreign forces are never tired of declaring Pakistan a strategic partner, but the ‘partnership’ they have displayed on strategic issues is known to the world. The nation is well-aware about the current era of personal interests, group priorities and regional prejudices, Nawaz Sharif is the only leader with courage to stand high in the most difficult times for safeguarding national interests and honour,” he said, while observing that it was due to the foreign aid that Pakistan was being subjected to drone attacks resulting in the death of innocent citizens instead of terrorists and aggravating the problem of terrorism. “I firmly believe that such incident cannot be stopped through protest resolutions, condemnatory statements or the rallies taken on luxurious cars and sit-inns. If the nation decides to depend on its own resources and worked with sincerity and commitment, Pakistan can also achieve self-reliance like China, Japan or Germany,” he suggested. – Nation