Feeling the pull with no strings attached

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  • ‘Incomprehensibility’ of grant worth US$ 1.5b makes opposition walk out of national assembly
  • PTI chief asks government the price that needed to be paid for grant

After finance minister’s overnight explanation for the grant given by a friend country, the opposition parties in National Assembly on Thursday staged a token walkout on the issue.

The treasury benches clarified the situation reiterating that the aid by a friendly country was simply a grant with no conditions attached and reminded the opposition of their satisfaction expressed after the speech of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday.

The matter was raised by MNA Nafeesa Shah and supplemented by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and MNA Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed. The members wondered how an aid of US$ 1.5 billion could be given by any country to Pakistan without seeking any services.

“It is our right to know the price we shall have to pay for this grant,” Imran Khan said.

Responding to their points, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid clarified that the finance minister had categorically stated the previous day that it was simply a grant.

“He made it absolutely clear that it is a grant with no conditions attached. This grant carries no interests and shall not be returned,” the minister said. He explained that the minister after his statement had also replied to questions raised by the members and senior members like Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed satisfaction on the statement.

Zahid Hamid categorically rejected that Pakistan or its armed forces will provide any services in return of the grant.”I make it clear that Pakistan Army will not be used anywhere outside the country in return of this grant.”

Another treasury member Moeen Watto also reminded the opposition that they had expressed satisfaction on statement of the finance minister. Therefore, there was no need to once again play up the issue.

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