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Pakistan Province Rejects U.S. Aid -official

Friday, 20 May 2011 06:48 AM

 

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LAHORE, May 20 (Reuters) - Pakistan's biggest province has cancelled six aid agreements with the United States in protest over the secret U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, its law minister said on Friday.

Pakistan hailed bin Laden's death as a big step against militancy but was incensed by the raid in the garrison town of Abbottabad, saying it was a violation of sovereignty.

The operation has severely strained ties between the United States and Pakistan, whose cooperation is needed to stabilise Afghanistan.

"We have cancelled six MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with the United States in the fields of health, education and solid waste management," said Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister of Punjab, the country's most populated province and its political nerve centre.

"We have conveyed their concerned departments about our decision. This is our protest against the Abbottabad incident."

The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) opposition party, which rules Punjab, has called for a review of the country's ties with Washington, urging the central government to reduce reliance on foreign aid.

A PML-N spokesman said Punjab had been expected to get 20 billion rupees ($232.55 million) for welfare projects in the next three years from the United States.

Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan has led to calls by some U.S. congressmen to cut aid to the country, which is heavily dependent on American financial assistance.

U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden on May 2, not far from the capital Islamabad.

The United States says there is no evidence Pakistan's leadership was aware he was in their country, and top U.S. defence officials, speaking in Washington this week, cautioned against any action that could harm ties with Islamabad. (Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Writing by Augustine Anthony: Editing by Michael Georgy)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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