Since 24th of September, 2009 when the US Congress passed the Kerry-Lugar Bill to give a $7.5 billion economic aid package to Pakistan, the country has been divided into two factions; one supports it and the other is against it. Certain conditions laid down in the Bill have been termed 'unacceptable even to the point of infringement of our sovereignty. The question I wish to raise here is that do we really need this aid? The World Banks Pakistan Tax Policy Report 2009 revealed that every year there is a tax evasion of approximately Rs 796 billions in Pakistan. I believe, if this huge amount is collected and used effectively in an efficient way, Pakistan would not have to extend a hand for assistance. Pakistan has been provided with such economic assistance previously too but we havent seen any of it being used in a positive way. Instead, all the money we got in aid disappeared into the (very deep) pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Our government is acting as if it is proud of having secured such an immense amount of aid from the outside world but I think its a moment of utter shame for Pakistan; we have been going around the world jiggling small change in our tincup, begging for assistance. Why cant we be self-sufficient? Why cant we have strong institutions that enforce tax payments? Why cant the corrupt officials for once stop being selfish and think in the interest of the nation? Why dont people pay their taxes and bills and stop blaming others for the countrys economic deprivation? -HIRRA BABAR, Lahore, October 10.