OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, while referring to Punjab governments decision of giving up foreign aid, has maintained that though the choice is a difficult one, but the objective will be actualised through promoting austerity and curtailing of expenditures. The refusal to accept foreign aid is our right, but not an attempt to annoy any country, he averred, while addressing editors and senior columnists at CMs Secretariat on Tuesday, Shahbaz talked at length about the falls of nations depending upon others. To him, economic devastation and national ignominy was the result of economic dependence. He informed the journalists about the details of the decision regarding giving up of foreign aid. He was of the considered opinion that living nations faced all problems with courage and determination, and it was the time for Pakistani to rely on indigenous resources and achieve the goal of self-sufficiency. Sovereignty is the issue of 160 million people of Pakistan, not the federal government alone. Terms and conditions of the foreign aid have weakened national institutions, he maintained, while negating an impression that the decision would result in shortage of health and educational facilities for the people of Punjab as new resources would be generated. The Punjab government has already promoted austerity and non-developmental expenditures have been reduced by Rs 6 billion. In the wake of the decision, four core groups have been set up, which will soon submit their recommendations regarding generation of new resources and curtailment of non-developmental expenditure, he said, adding that there would be no need for foreign assistance if corruption was eliminated. Shahbaz Sharif also added that there was a marked difference between aid and loans. He said loans were taken from international financial institutions on commercial basis for different projects and everyone had the right to borrow from the Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions if they were non-political and conditions-free. However, he reiterated his stance that it was now the turn of the elite and affluent classes to give sacrifices, as the poor had already rendered sacrifices.