Pakistan not to accept any US aid with strings, says Ahsan Iqbal

Pakistan not to accept any US aid with strings, says Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is a sovereign country and will not accept any US aid with strings, the federal minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday.

His statement came in reference to a resolution passed by the US congress linking aid to Pakistan with the release of Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA track down former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

“There should be respect for each other’s laws,” the minister said while talking to media representatives in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The federal minister said that relations between the two countries should be based on equality and respect for each other’s sovereignty.

Iqbal said that the US administration also wants to further relations with Pakistan and hoped it will impress upon the congress to refrain from such a step.

“Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on principles of strengthening relations with all states while protecting the interests of the country,” he said.

On Monday, the Foreign Office also expressed disappointment over singing of a bill by US President Barack Obama proposing to withhold $33 million aid to Pakistan on account of Dr Shakil Afridi’s detention.

In a statement‚ Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said that Dr Shakil Afridi is a citizen of Pakistan and accused of having violated the country’s laws. She said that his action caused immense damage to polio campaign and his case is sub-judice and he remains entitled to due process under the law.

Referring to the trade concessions given by the European Union to Pakistan‚ Iqbal said that Islamabad is negotiating with Washington to secure enhanced access to the US market.

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Besides‚ he said that we want increased investment from the United States in Pakistan.

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