ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Pakistani Foreign Office has said that proposed deal of purchase of eight F-16 aircraft from US is still under discussion between the two countries.
Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakariya, while commenting on media reports regarding the cutting of financial subsidy for the sale of the aircraft by the United States, said United States and Pakistan have not put the deal on hold.
Nafees Zakariya further said that mutual efforts are needed to tackle the menace of terrorism and the responsibility to eliminate terrorism cannot be placed on one country.
United States Congress Committee had interrupted financial aid worth $430 million to Pakistan putting sale of eight F-16 fighter jets on the line once again. The Congress also halted provision of $740.2 million funds for Pakistan under military aid package.
However, Department of State stated to a British journal that Obama government is in favour of supplying F-16s to Pakistan but US aid would not be used for the purpose.
Pakistani embassy’s spokesperson in the United States, Nadeem Hotiana said that the US administration has already supported F-16s sale to Pakistan however purchase of arms and ammunition is a lengthy and time-taking procedure.
He said that India had lobbied against Pakistan regarding the sale while some members of the Congress had also criticised the deal. They had said that F-16s could be used against India, he added.
Indian External Affairs Ministry had made it clear in February that it would not buy the argument that the deal would help Pakistan combat terrorism.
“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had tweeted.
Earlier in March, the motion to supply F-16s to Pakistan garnered success in the US Senate with an overwhelming 71 to 24 margin.
The deal between the two sides was kept alive for the past five years however, Obama government announced in February to go through with the sale formally.