It’s time to say ‘no’ to foreign aid: Shahbaz Sharif

Published: May 17, 2011
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday announced that Punjab will no longer accept foreign aid in order to “safeguard the dignity of Pakistan”. PHOTO: FILE

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday announced that Punjab will no longer accept foreign aid in order to “safeguard the dignity of Pakistan”. PHOTO: FILE


Terming foreign aid a root cause of all the issues the country is facing, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday said that Pakistan needs to stop relying on aid.

“It is time to break the begging bowl and achieve self-reliance in the interest of complete independence,” he said while addressing a press conference after a meeting of the provincial cabinet. Shahbaz said that the Punjab cabinet has decided to ‘give shape’ to this proposal and has also recommended that the resolve to end dependence on foreign aid be forwarded to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif so that his party could give an approval to the decision after thorough reflection.

The chief minister said that refusing foreign aid is not easy but this is what every Pakistani wants. He said that he was confident that the decision taken by the most populated province of Pakistan would prove to be a starting point of a national movement for economic independence, national sovereignty and security of the country.

“But the decision to give up foreign aid does not mean that relations with other countries should be impaired. This decision is aimed at the promotion of trade instead of aid,” Shahbaz said. He said Pakistan is fighting for its existence therefore the entire nation, especially the elite, would have to make sacrifices, adding that problems as a result of disregarding foreign aid would only be transitory.

If the nation wants to live with honour and dignity it would have to revisit its priorities, the chief minister said. He added that whether it was the Raymond Davis issue, drone attacks or the Abbottabad operation, the nation has solutions to all such problems.

Shahbaz said that Pakistan was subjected to drone attacks due to the aid it is getting. He said that such incidents could not be stopped through protest resolutions, condemnatory statements or rallies taken out in luxurious cars. “If the nation decides to depend on its own resources and works with sincerity and commitment, Pakistan could also achieve self-reliance like China, Japan or Germany,” he said.

He said that the centre and provinces are not apart so the decision of the Punjab cabinet is the voice of the entire nation. Earlier, the cabinet gave approval to three amendment bills of the Board of Revenue with regard to devolution of powers under the 18th amendment and the amendments in Provincial Assembly Punjab Privilege Act 1972.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (60)

  • muhammad babar
    May 16, 2011 - 2:09PM

    let this foreign aid include aid from saudi arabia,UAE & iran also.We’ve seen how destructive their aid has been.our society has been changed into one of religious fanatics,conspiracy theorists & perpetually-in-denial people who believe that every one in the world is out to get islam & the pakistani people are the only ones who have to defend the faith against the infidels.

    All these madrassas & religio-political parties have wreaked havoc on our society.It’s time they’re dismantled so they don’t produce another generation of brainwashed hatemongers. Recommend

  • Adnan S. Khan
    May 16, 2011 - 2:11PM

    That’s good.. he can keep all the Saudi petro dollars for himselfRecommend

  • Sohaib
    May 16, 2011 - 2:13PM

    Thats it. Solution lies here! I hope they are serious about it and continue on this path. No more aid, no more compromise! We need to stand on our own feet.Recommend

  • Sana N
    May 16, 2011 - 2:26PM

    Exactly! Finally someone in power is speaking up!Recommend

  • Adnan S. Khan
    May 16, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Wonder why don’t the moderators post my comments about the Sharif brothers and there Saudi allies?Recommend

  • Pakistani Punjabi (PP)
    May 16, 2011 - 2:42PM

    Stupid…. Is he and his family going give back bank loans which they have eaten in last 30 years?
    What about loan and aid He got from China last week?
    Does it count in foreign aid or not?
    ARMY is biggest beneficiary of foreign aid in Pakistan.
    He should check with them first.
    Please donot mislead people….we are already mislead alot…Recommend

  • Kya kehna
    May 16, 2011 - 2:52PM

    PML(N) is the last hope to Pakistan. Great efforts made by CM Punjab. Nawaz Sharif zindababdRecommend

  • Mastuj
    May 16, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Just copying Imran Khan. If you wanna follow him, just let him lead. That’s what the majority of Pakistan wants anyway.Recommend

  • Atif
    May 16, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Thanks God, atleast we have some ghairatmand people aliveRecommend

  • optimist
    May 16, 2011 - 3:02PM

    We must appreciate this, even if it is just a statement in the right direction (by prominent leader!)Recommend

  • Shaheen
    May 16, 2011 - 3:17PM

    Double talk. We want to know what Nawaz REALLY told the US ambassador — pleading for kursi, I bet!Recommend

  • Maria
    May 16, 2011 - 3:48PM

    @Adnan S. Khan: I think his comments are a step in the right direction. The people and the nation need to learn how to stand on their own feet. Whether he is following Imran Khan or making his own statement, the sentiment is correct. I don’t know where your comment about Saudi petrol dollars comes from. Certainly, the Saudis are no friends of Pakistan either.Recommend

  • Sohaib
    May 16, 2011 - 3:48PM

    After reading through the comments. Again most of the people are bashing him or anyother personality. We all know most of them are crooks him or infact everyone is a crook. What I liked here is that this is a start. This is an idea, a statement that was not heard before and this is what we have to focus on. No more aid from now on, make more trade and market Pakistani product etc. You dont have to follow any any certain personality but putting this idea in someone minds can bring a fresh start. Optimistic yes we have to optimistic. This ape crap whats going on in pakistan has to and will stop. What we should do is support a positive idea!Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 3:48PM

    You still have to pay back what has already been taken! Start paying your taxes, everyone else will follow. Recommend

  • Abdur Rehman
    May 16, 2011 - 3:48PM

    shehbaz is a populist. Pakistan can not survive a week without aid.Recommend

  • Arshad Jamal Butt
    May 16, 2011 - 3:51PM

    Pakistan is victim of terrorism and before entrance of Nato forces in Afghanistan there were almost zero suicide attacks in Pakistan.
    As far as foreign aid is concerned our politicians and other departments ate and eat rights of the people of Pakistan. If foreign aid is for masses then why there is shortage of everything for common people and abundance of everything for politicians and elites? Why there is load shedding? Why there is Gas shedding? Why sugar prices are high? Why flour prices are high? Why there is no security for common man? Why Police insults poor people? Why traffic wardins give challan tickets to poor bike riders?
    How can they stop foreign aid? Aid is for them not for us. Hence stop pretending and don’t make us fools. Recommend

  • Quratulain Dar
    May 16, 2011 - 4:05PM

    We might sometime soon have a chance to stand up for ourselves, if we give up the aid. Recommend

  • Zohra S. Khan
    May 16, 2011 - 4:14PM

    people..foreign means as saudis are not gora so technically thier aid is not foreign hence jayez…enjoy..Recommend

  • jibran babar
    May 16, 2011 - 5:07PM

    @Abdur Rehman:
    says whoRecommend

  • Adnan
    May 16, 2011 - 5:14PM

    What a genius! Why didnt any of us think of that? Oh wait a minute, didnt Asif Zardari say the same thing (trade not aid)?!Recommend

  • Usman
    May 16, 2011 - 5:16PM

    I appreciate Mr shehbazRecommend

  • Hammad Ali
    May 16, 2011 - 5:23PM

    Political mileage !Recommend

  • Prof Dr Zulfiqar Ali
    May 16, 2011 - 5:41PM

    I fully endorse the view point of Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab. I would rather suggest that the projects which are less productive or not productive at all and are funded by the World Bank should be suspended immediately.

    Instead of wasting huge money above Rs24 billion and human resources on the construction weir/wall D/S of the Jinnah barrage, the money can be saved as the barrage in in perfect health. Rather the weir/wall reduces the discharge capacity of the barrage and that is a national crime. Their are many other similar projects which are not useful at all and the money can be saved without losing any thing. Recommend

  • Amer
    May 16, 2011 - 5:52PM

    He is just trying to fool the people that’s all! The biggest recipient of foreign aid is the army, please stop them first from recieving aid the rest would be fine. Recommend

  • Zahid Aslam
    May 16, 2011 - 5:54PM

    Well I think it is a great step if it is very difficult for Pakistani because they adduct by foreign aid…Recommend

  • Zahid Aslam
    May 16, 2011 - 5:55PM

    @Kya kehna: I agree with you man…..Recommend

  • meekal ahmed
    May 16, 2011 - 6:08PM

    Now let’s see here………..Punjab will not accept foreign aid.

    So all Punjab foreign-aided projects and programs will be shut down?

    With no aid to finance the budget deficit, where will the gap be filled from?

    Will the good CM fill the gap by raising domestic resources? Tax on agriculture incomes? Tax on private and commercial property?

    Not a fat chance.

    Mr. CM, please stop making vacuous statements that you are not prepared to back up with concrete suggestions. Relax and enjoy. Recommend

  • Usman
    May 16, 2011 - 6:28PM

    @kya kehna i agree with u tooRecommend

  • QB
    May 16, 2011 - 6:36PM

    Copying the policy from IK — like always.Recommend

  • bemused rana
    May 16, 2011 - 6:59PM

    good. now all foreign aid will go to the smaller provincesRecommend

  • faraz
    May 16, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Imran has been clean bowled in the game of populist rhetoricRecommend

  • Hasan
    May 16, 2011 - 7:52PM

    In other words tax payers of Sindh will pay for Punjab government expenses.Recommend

  • ishaq
    May 16, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Good Sense of Humor Mr.CM Recommend

  • Lobster
    May 16, 2011 - 8:52PM

    Looks like just a hollow statement without policy, to allure shrinking voter base in Punjab Recommend

  • Faisal
    May 16, 2011 - 8:55PM

    @Hasan: Get a life man, people like u are breaking Pakistan by promoting such differences…Recommend

  • saleem khan
    May 16, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Mr Khadam-i-Ala. You are already spending Aid from Kerry Lugar bill, aid from China and Japan and also aid from UK and Saudi Arabia. Please transfer that aid to other three provinces as now you do not want to have aid. People of Baluchistan are waiting anxiously for the Aid.Recommend

  • IronyDetector
    May 16, 2011 - 11:03PM

    Shahbaz, while you are at it, please also reject aid from other provinces. Karachi generates the vast majority of the country’s income, and your province eats up most of it. We’ll trade with you though, so don’t worry too much.Recommend

  • optimist
    May 16, 2011 - 11:13PM

    By looking at all the negative comments above, I think Shehbaz sharif
    should stop saying positive things as people
    never appreciate!! Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 16, 2011 - 11:53PM

    Before we give Punjab province the power to make federal decisions, we have to give the same powers and autonomy to the four smaller provinces as well. We have to give control of ports and minerals and all the taxes extracted from the smaller provinces.

    Punjab can refuse the foreign/American aid. How about Punjab dominated army its secret budges? We invaded East Pakistan when the Bengali demanded autonomy. This is nothing but cheap stunt to pacify militant right wing supporters of PML-N. This party has no option but the make electoral alliance with JI, JUI and likes. This has been their history and they cannot contest elections without the support of a right wing alliance against the progressive forces.

    Mirza, USARecommend

  • Hasan
    May 16, 2011 - 11:54PM


    What is breaking Pakistan is Punjab not levying taxes over its Chaudaries and landlords, and instead putting burden on Sindh which is already wreaking under its expenses. Doctors in Punjab are already paid higher than in Sindh. Sindh residents have rights too.Recommend

  • Hasan
    May 16, 2011 - 11:57PM


    PS: If Punjab wants to be ghairatmand do it on your own expense. Put your (own) money where your mouth is.Recommend

  • Aamer Khawaja
    May 17, 2011 - 12:48AM


    Sindh paying for Punjab? Sindh can’t pay for sindh itself in the current economic scenario.Recommend

  • Usman
    May 17, 2011 - 12:57AM

    Mian Sahab, wake up! Your province is in the midst of the corruption worse than ever seen and you are talking about not taking foreign aid. You owe me and my company Rs 2.5 million for last one year, not only you but your special health secretary did nothing for it, despite the fact that you knew it had no corruption involved in it and my father passed away from this world travelling from lahore to pindi and back n forth. Their are thousand such companies that have been defaulted in recent times due to the non-payments by your Punjab government. I have contacted every MNA of your party and all they say is, ‘How much will be our cut’ and just because we don’t want to indulge in the bribe race we are suffering so stop making big statements just for the sake of media lime light.
    Their is no plan, their is no think tank in your party, carrying Ishaq Dar n calling him a finance wizard will do no good Mian Sb, its time that the youth with relevant degrees take up the things in their hands, trust me they are more loyal to this country then u can imagine. Recommend

  • Shaheen
    May 17, 2011 - 2:16AM


    Well said, Usman. Indeed these corrupt, tried and failed people offer no hope.Recommend

  • NOOR
    May 17, 2011 - 3:45AM

    Plan without a plan – will take care the challenges once face. What a state. Recommend

  • Tariq
    May 17, 2011 - 7:45AM

    Good stop taking the moneyRecommend

  • Munir
    May 17, 2011 - 9:50AM

    Hypocricy at its best.Recommend

  • Abdul Razzaque
    May 17, 2011 - 11:18AM

    I could not accept that this siataion a big decision come’s our front.

    I really appriciated this decision.

    One Nation One road to go the country that stage where is no poverty no

    hunger no gambling no terrorist only the governemnt of prosperity humanity

    and lawfull beloved people and all is well.

    All of them know;

    only little bit face hardness and streamed prolum the result is very clear

    our scarify the best of our next generation servive a meaningful life.

    Only our pur sacrification for better furture.

    Now I am ready to sacrify for our counrty of Pakistan and his habitant and new comming generation.

    Thanks Mr.Cheif Minister may be your true.and I accept your idea beacuse I accept this idea before Mr.X Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf when he call brokeen the foreign aid and give the solution where you eat extra finished where you drink tea only one cup is rest Inshallah we reach the that stage where no aid from foriegn.
    Then we stuck off one or two cup where is no earning any salary.and know I am salary person in private job. But this Country is mine and I could not bear any problum and little bit problum to my country and all beloved country men.

    Best of Luc

    Pakpattan Sharif

  • A
    May 17, 2011 - 12:39PM

    Really Shahbaz? No foreign aid? Why don’t you come up with your OWN ideas and stop repeating everything that Imran Khan says. And for the few people who agree with the CM’s comments, how can you start praising Shahbaz when Imran Khan has been saying the SAME thing for years now? Recommend

  • let there be peace
    May 17, 2011 - 1:15PM

    yes, no more foreign aid now on. Only Chinese and Saudi aid.Recommend

  • Syed Imran
    May 17, 2011 - 2:26PM

    Yes we can do it provided Nawaz Sharif brings back the billions he invested in UK to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    May 17, 2011 - 3:17PM

    Hehe… sharif brothers are towing the line of Imran Khan…Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 17, 2011 - 11:30PM

    Punjab is only moving here and there on foreign aid. Yes, your province can breath for a while only if looted money is brought back from all foreign banks. If this is only point scoring for hypnotized rabbits (your followers) then it is OK.Recommend

  • Aamer Khawaja
    May 18, 2011 - 2:52AM


    First of all I’m an ISF member, but i need to say one very important thing, its not that a person has absolute copyrights over what one says, IK is correct and if Shahbaz is following and accepting his vision, that is also correct. Its a win-win situationRecommend

  • A
    May 18, 2011 - 3:44AM

    Aamer, no doubt if Shahbaz is following PTI’s vision in the area of foreign aid it is a good thing. However, I was simply pointing out the practice of PML(N) leaders to eventually repeat what Imran Khan and Tehreek Insaaf have been saying. Their smaller leaders attack PTI and call it a party that is too small, too naiive but then the big leaders start saying things that PTI has been saying all along! Recommend

  • P.A.M
    May 18, 2011 - 1:49PM

    then show usRecommend

  • Arshad Jamal Butt
    May 18, 2011 - 3:10PM

    @muhammad babar:
    You are right in a way dear Babar. But why you did not mention USA aid? and goals of USA in our region? O.K 9/11 took place and Muslims were may be or surely involved in it but USA is interfering in every country. They have thrown atom bomb on Japan. They fought against Vietnam. They fought through Pakistan with Russia. All said countries are not Muslim countries.
    Did u ever count how many people died in World war 1 and 2?
    U should not just present one side of picture.
    Both Western and Eastern aids should be stopped but what plans do we have to run our country without foreign aid?
    People do not trust corrupt leaders and do not give taxes and steal electricity as well.
    We need sincere leadership who can analyse situation of our country and work on sectarianism, regional and provisional problems and bring unity in all over the country. Recommend

  • Nasir Ahmed
    May 23, 2011 - 8:42PM

    Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has raised the slogan: ‘No to foreign aid’. “If the nation decides to depend on its own resources and works with sincerity and commitment, Pakistan could also achieve self-reliance like China, Japan or Germany,” said Mr Sharif. Unfortunately, the Punjab government ended up cancelling six MoUs (memorandums of understanding) with the US in the fields of health, education and solid waste management. Now we may want to break the begging bowl and it sounds like a great idea but for the time being, are we so self-reliant that we can afford to do this? If Pakistan can continue to take military aid from the US and China, piling up nukes every year, why can we not take development aid for projects that are badly needed? Is ‘honour’ only the prerogative of the common man and not our beloved army?. Furthermore I am sure Chief Minister Punjab is not going to augment Punjab’s economy by withdrawing his money piled up in foreign banks. I am also not sure, CM Punjab will cut his luxurious expenditures and will start eating rookhi sookhi. This sacrifice is just for the browbeaten people. Well done Chief Minister, you are leaving no stone unturned to further agonize the already suffering lower class.Recommend

  • Hameed Khan
    May 25, 2011 - 8:13PM

    The Khadim-e-aala (the high servant), janab wazeer-e-aaala (respected chief minister), Mian Shahbaz Sharif made some quick headlines by saying no to ‘foreign aid in Punjab’. After the Abbottabad operation, our honour, which was in deep slumber, has suddenly woken up. The honourable chief minister sahib did touch on a couple of items, like creating jobs and investment. Sounds good and promising, but how do you attract long-term business and investment from all over the world? Even a novice like me knows that you want the domestic and foreign investments to increase exponentially to get the desired returns. It boils down to a conducive economic environment. How do you create that in the presence of political instability and terrorism, which is preventing people from the outside to increase their stakes in our motherland? Mian Sahib Junior is an astute politician and a seasoned businessman himself. He knows that in order to boost economic activity, these impediments have to be tackled head on.Recommend

  • Sarfraz Hussain
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:16PM

    The government of Punjab, which had recently secured front page coverage by its proclamation about shunning all funding by foreign donors, demanded from Islamabad to increase its borrowing limits and ensure release of development funds to avoid delays in the execution of projects in the next budget, it is learnt. Contrary to its public position against accepting any new foreign loans, the Punjab government on Saturday pushed the National Economic Council to approve new international borrowing ceilings and complained about delays in the approval of development projects that are funded by international lenders. These two demon brothers are true hypocrites who have been fooling gullible people of Pakistan as the only sympathetic and true well wishers of Pakistan. But in fact these two Baldos are much more dangerous to Pakistan because of their uncanny ability to go to any length to further their political career which includes shaking hands with devil masters.Recommend

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