Trump’s tweet ‘non-serious’, policy needed to end reliance on US aid: Nawaz Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should devise a strategy which ends the country’s reliance on US aid.

The PML-N leader and former prime minister was responding to the US withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan following President Donald Trump’s tweet in which he said the US had foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years. “They have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking our leaders as fools,” Trump had stated.

Nawaz during a news conference at the Punjab House, described Donald Trump’s tweet as “sad” and “non-serious,” and stressed that a head of state should be mindful of the diplomatic rules of engagement.

“Pakistan paid the highest price after 9/11” Nawaz said, emphasising that the country had lost the most in the war on terrorism.

The former premier said further that the Coalition Support Fund should not be termed aid, adding that we do not need “taunts” about aid.

“Had there been a democratic government in 2001, it would not have sold its conscience,” said Nawaz, who was deposed in 1999 by the-then army chief General Pervez Musharraf.

“We need to take stock of the domestic situation and find out why the world has a negative view of Pakistan,” he added.

‘Will present proof if secret schemes do not stop’

Regarding the country’s political situation, Nawaz said that being a three-time prime minister, several facts are in his knowledge.
Nawaz lamented that not a single prime minister has completed his or her term in this country.
Quoting surveys, he said the PML-N is the most popular party among the public, and its vote bank is stronger than the combined vote bank of all political parties.
“Those afraid of this rise [of PML-N] are attempting to change the present situation,” he added.
“I want to state categorically that the country’s future is linked with impartial elections,” he said, urging that equal opportunities be given to every electoral contender.
He said illegal decisions and secret backdoor deals should not be undertaken to keep some parties out and other ‘favourites’ in.
“Those who indulge in the politics of lies and sit-ins and have been repeatedly rejected by the voters should not be forced upon the people,” he asserted.
Asking that the voters’ decisions not be usurped, Nawaz warned that is the scheming being undertaken behind the curtains does not stop, he “shall present all such evidence before the people and share the story of what has transpired in the last four years”.
“I shall also inform the people of the political games being played from behind the scenes at the moment,” he added.

During the conference, Nawaz also lamented that his patriotism questioned time and again by propping up various issues, such as the Dawn Leaks saga.

Starting his press conference, Nawaz said this is the year of general elections when the electorate will choose their representatives for the next five years.  He added that a level-playing field should be given to all the parties.

Nawaz reached the Punjab House alongside his daughter Maryam where the press conference was taking place.
Earlier, Nawaz appeared before the accountability court which is hearing corruption proceedings against him and his family.
Speaking with reporters outside the court, Nawaz lamented the favourable treatment of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan by the judiciary, referring to his recent ‘clearance’ by the Supreme Court in the disqualification case against him as well his bail in the anti-terrorism cases against him.
The former premier also expressed disappointment at rumours that his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was to seek ‘safe passage’ from his present predicaments.