LAHORE Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said in order to achieve genuine economic and political independence, foreign aid will have to be given up. No nation can prosper with foreign aid and had it been so, the situation in Pakistan, which had received billions of dollars during the last 63 years, would have been different. The elite have benefited from the foreign aid and now they will have to make sacrifices, he observed during his separate meetings with assembly members of various districts and party workers here on Wednesday. The CM said history was witness to the fact that several nations had made rapid progress by dint of hard work, honesty and commitment and development of indigenous resources. He also said it was the time to prove to the world that the living nations could survive and prosper without foreign charities. The historic decision taken by the Punjab government to get rid of foreign assistance is an important step towards achievement of genuine freedom. No additional burden will be put on the poor but the elite will have to demonstrate a spirit of sacrifice and take practical steps, he said, adding that the Punjab government had promoted culture of austerity and reduced non-developmental expenditure and further steps would be taken. He also mentioned that four core groups had been set up for the promotion of austerity, which would soon submit the recommendations for evolving a strategy in this regard. He said party workers were asset of the PML-N and the welfare programmes were being launched with their consultation. He asked the assembly members to keep close liaison with the masses and leave no stone unturned for resolution of their problems. MNAs Ch Khalid Pervaiz, Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar, Sheikh Aftaab Ahmad, Mian Javed Latif and MPAs Kiran Dar, Ch Bashir Gujjar and Ch Ghulam Nabi called on the CM.