ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affair Sartaj Aziz has admitted that Pakistan’s ties with United States have been strained for the last three months.
Winding up a debate on an adjournment motion in the Senate, Aziz said that some crucial issues had deteriorated the relationship between both countries such, including the sale of US-made F-16’s to Pakistan, Pakistan’s ongoing nuclear program and American demands regarding the release of Dr Shakeel Afridi, who helped US forces in 2011 to capture and kill Osama bin Laden and is now under arrest in Pakistan.
He went on to say that US Congress’ recent move to withdraw the proposed subsidy on the sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan had made the ties between both countries even tenser.
The adviser said that Pakistan-US relationship had hit its lowest ebb in 2011 after the Abbottabad operation to kill OBL, but afterwards it witnessed an upward trajectory. However, in last three months ties between the countries had once again deteriorated, he added.
On the occasion, Sartaj Aziz also criticised the role of Indian lobby present in Washington. He alleged that such elements had pressured the US to add conditions to military aid to Pakistan.
He informed the upper house of Parliament that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had written a letter to his US counterpart, urging him to ensure completion of the F-16 purchase deal. The minister has also asked US Defence Secretary to spread awareness among US legislators about the importance of F-16’s in the fight against terrorism, he said.
Speaking on the same issue, several other Senators also criticized the US’ recent move of stalling the F-16 deal. They said that the US is one friend of Pakistan that cannot be trusted.