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$20-bn US aid is nothing compared to the price Pakistan paid during ‘war on terror’: Imran Khan

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: US senator Rand Paul insists no aid to Pakistan until Asia Bibi is freed, Pak Hindu senator figures in BBC 100 Women list.

Trump’s aid cut justification sparks bitter war on Twitter

US President Donald Trump’s justification of cutting aid to Pakistan has sparked a war of words on Twitter with Prime Minister Imran Khan claiming that no Pakistanis were involved in the 9/11 incident.

In an interview to Fox News Sunday, Trump had accused Pakistan of giving shelter to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was later gunned down by US forces.

Khan Monday hit back, tweeting that the US aid of worth $20 billion was nothing compared to the $123 billion which Pakistan incurred along with 75,000 lives lost during its participation in the US’ “war on terror”.

Khan also challenged Trump to name any other “ally” that contributed as much as Pakistan did in providing “free lines of ground and air communication” to the US.

The Pakistan PM hinted that the US failed miserably in countering Taliban’s influence in Afghanistan despite spending $1 trillion along with deploying 1.4 lakh NATO troops and 2.5 lakh Afghani security forces.

Trump replied by saying that the US should have captured bin Laden long before it actually killed him. “We paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never told us he (Osama) was living there,” he tweeted.

But, Khan wasn’t over yet. He said after all the suffering Pakistan was subjected to, he “will do what is best for our people & our interests”.

Pakistan human rights minister Shireen Mazari also responded to Trump’s tweets. “…whether China or Iran, US policies of containment & isolation do not coincide with Pak strategic interests,” she said.

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it was shameful to hear Trump give these remarks, especially when it was “safer today” because of Pakistan’ efforts.

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir thanked PM Imran Khan for “uniting our Govt and opposition” on this matter and challenged Trump to respond to Khan’s reply.

No aid to Pakistan until Asia Bibi is freed, says US senator

Kentucky senator Rand Paul Monday argued that Pakistan should not get a single penny of US aid until Asia Bibi is freed.

In an article he wrote for controversial news portal Breitbart News, Paul stressed that he has “made it a personal mission” to stop the “United States from funding or being allied with places that persecute Christians”.

Paul mentioned that during his time in the US Congress, he has introduced a legislation that could allow the US to withhold aid to Pakistan and pressure them to “release Asia Bibi” and also demand them to not persecute religious minorities.

“Until Asia Bibi is freed, Pakistan should not receive a penny of US aid! Not one penny should go to any nation that persecutes or kills Christians,” he said.

“Asia Bibi deserves asylum in the United States. She deserves real freedom. And Americans deserve to know their tax dollars aren’t being sent to subsidise a country’s war on Christianity,” Paul added.

Pak Hindu senator on BBC’s list of 100 influential women

The BBC 100 Women  list 2018 describes Krishna Kumari as an active “campaigner for women’s rights”. Krishna is the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected as senator. The 39-year-old belongs to the Kohli community from the remote village of Dhana Gam in Nagarparkar and since her election in March she has worked for the rights of bonded labourers.

As a child, Krishna herself was forced to work as a bonded labourer in Umerkot for three years,  a reason that motivated her to work for “the rights of the oppressed people, especially for the empowerment of women, their health and education”.

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