The local government of the Pakistani province of Punjab said Friday (May 20) that it had canceled six aid agreements with the United States in protest of the latter’s raid of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in the Asian country.
The Pakistani government has lauded bin Laden’s death in the May 1 raid as a key step against insurgency but has argued that the operation violated the country’s sovereignty, Reuters notes.
“We have canceled six MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with the United States in the fields of health, education and solid waste management,” Reuters quotes Punjab’s law minister, Rana Sanaullah.
Sanaullah said the local government had communicated the cancellations of the agreements to the relevant U.S. agencies.
“This is our protest against the Abbottabad incident,” Sanaullah said, referring to the town where bin Laden was found and killed.
The Pakistan Muslim League has also called for a review of Pakistan’s ties with the United States and urged the Pakistani central government to reduce its dependence on foreign aid. PML is an opposition political party.
Sanaullah’s announcement comes just a few days after Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the province will no longer accept aid from “aghyaar,” which the provincial government described as donors that attach conditions to their assistance and undermine Punjab’s sovereignty. Sharif indicated that the United States is among the donors the government considers as aghyaar.
Meantime, the U.S. Agency for International Development is reportedly re-evaluating the projects that were affected by the provincial government’s decision.
Read more about U.S. development aid.