THE US aid package to Pakistan has spawned a heated debate. It all started when US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson while briefing reporters remarked that the US has given a sum of $3 billion in economic, security and development assistance since President Zardari came to power. The statement however met with a firm rebuttal by Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin who maintained that the US has provided only $970 million since the PPP-led government took office. Not only that. He also stated that a major portion of this amount was Coalition Support Fund to strengthen the army against militancy. Still, the matter ought to be brought into perspective. Either Ambassador Patterson has got her figures wrong or she might be referring to some package that was promised in the past but did not know if it were actually given. It is a known fact that the US more often than not delays the aid that has been pledged. The Kerry-Lugar bill, since long talked about, is yet to become an act. But the confusion does not end here. Given the denial by Mr Tarin who said that he had no clue to such an amount being given to Pakistan, the matter becomes all the more confusing. It becomes hard to tell who is telling the truth. The statement and counter-statement are bound to raise questions over transparency of the US aid to Pakistan. This could also prove damaging for the PPP-led set-up. The controversy would add grist to the mill of those who have been blaming the government for unscrupulously spending the assistance. People after all must be wondering whether $3 billion did come, and if so, where did it go? Therefore it is of utmost importance that the public should be shown the true picture. The position that the PPP-led government takes stipulates a departure from the Musharraf era. Keeping public in the dark in matters of foreign aid flowing into Pakistan should be made a thing of the past.