In what could be a major setback to Pakistan, a top US lawmaker has introduced a “joint resolution” in the House of Representatives to disapprove an arms deal with Pakistan that includes the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets.
“The government of Pakistan has been using weapons from the US to repress its own citizens and especially the people of Baluchistan,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said on February 25.
“The deciding factor of whether to support this joint resolution is, for me, the arrogant and hostile actions taken by the government of Pakistan against the man who helped bring Osama bin Laden to justice,” Mr Rohrabacher said.
The Obama administration had made an official announcement earlier this month that it would go ahead with the $700 million arms deal with Pakistan.
The resolution (SJ Res 30) seeks to prohibit the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The US State Department had recently notified the Congress about the possible sale. The resolution calls for “prohibiting sale” of other military hardware to Pakistan, including eight Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDWES), 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS).
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has put on hold the sale of F-16 to Pakistan. “The relationship between the US and Pakistan has been a troubled one. Though the government of Pakistan has been considered to be America’s ally in the fight on terrorism, its behaviour would suggest otherwise. While we give them billions of dollars in aid, we are simultaneously aware of their intelligence and military apparatus assisting the Afghan Taliban,” Senator Rand Paul, who has initiated the joint resolution, said.
The Obama administration’s decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan was criticised by India expressing its displeasure over the deal by summoning Richard Verma, the US envoy to India.
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