USA's economic aid a "myth", says Pakistani finance minister

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Washington, April 19: The entire World is aware of the fact that Pakistan is a huge beneficiary of the financial aid offered by the United States of America but, in a statement that could change some perceptions, the finance minister of Pakistan, on April 18, said that all such things were part of a "myth".

Speaking at Washington, Hafiz Shaikh the Pakistani finance minister said, "There is a perception that there is a lot of money going to Pakistan...It is largely a myth that Pakistan is a beneficiary of tens of billions of dollars. The truth is that in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman arrangement this year we have not even received $300 million."

He was speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center policy think-tank.

According to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law aid package, passed in 2009, the US is supposed to to provide Pakistan $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years, with an arrangement of authorising $1.5 billion a year.

Stressing the importance of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law as an important symbol of the USA's commitment to democracy in Pakistan, he said, "If it is disbursed in a proper way and implemented in a proper way, then it can have far-reaching consequences for the people of Pakistan...It would alter some misperceptions that are there."

The finance minister also said that his country is not expecting aid and said, "We're saying let's open our markets to each other."

Pakistan is burdened by huge external debt amounting up to $58 billion and in 2008 had turned up to the International Monetary Fund desperately seeking an emergency loan of $11 billion to avoid an economic meltdown.

OneIndia News

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