Appearing on Wednesday on American news outlet Fox Business in the show ‘After the Bell’, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari criticised US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s tweet as “deeply hurtful” to the people of Pakistan, particularly to those people like himself “who have lost loved ones in the fight against extremism.”
He was talking to the American news outlet in connection with the American president’s accusation at the start of the year that Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years”, but Pakistan had in return given “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”.
Bilawal said that while he doesn’t think President Trump intended so, “this tweet sent a wrong message”.
He recalled that President Trump had talked about ‘aid’ in the tweet when referring to a sum of $33 billion transferred to Pakistan. Conceding that the concern over aid is “America’s right, America’s taxpayer money and absolutely your [the US government]’s right to [decide] how you want to spend it”, he made clear that the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) — under which a large chunk of the $33bn were transferred — “is actually reimbursement in exchange for services rendered by Pakistan in the fight against extremism.”