US not to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise F-16s for Pakistan

 

F-16

A day after US lawmakers expressed concern that F-16 fighter jets could be used against India and not to combat terrorism, the US is not inclined to use tax payers’ money to provide fighter planes to Pakistan. As a result Pakistan now will have to pay entire $700 million to purchase eight F-16 from the US. A media report quoted an unnamed official in the US administration saying that because of the hold on it by Senators, the US government will not be using any of the tax payers’ money to sell F-16 to Pakistan. According to the earlier deal, for the eight fighter jets worth $700 million, Pakistan had to pay $270 million and remainder $430 million was to be paid by the US. However, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Bob Corker has stopped the Obama administration to make its part of the payment for the jets.

Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson strongly defended the decision of the Obama administration, saying that this is in the best interest of the US and did not give any indication on the difficulties in sale of F-16. “The administration is supportive of the F-16 sale to Pakistan. This is been developed between our military coordinating groups over the course of time that is consistent with our overall program of support for the Pakistani military, which is based on counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism,” he said.

“The arms sales is a long process and we do not comment on its specific status at (this) point in time,” Pakistan embassy Spokesman Nadeem Hotiana said. “This is in line with bilateral counterterrorism cooperation that both sides have pursued in mutual benefit,” he said. He also said that the F-16s give precision strike capability to Pakistan’s on-going campaign against militancy and proved to be an effective platform during the Zarb-e-Azb operation.

“Pakistan believes that threat from terrorist networks requires continued capacity building and both governments continue to work together towards this objective through a range of measures including sale of these air crafts,” it added. The statement also said that the Obama administration supports the sale of F-16s (valued at $700 million) to Pakistan.

The main hurdle in the way of the fighter deal is lawmakers’ refusal to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise F-16s for Pakistan, and talks are taking place to settle the matter. During a hearing of the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Congressman Matt Salmon said many American legislators “seriously question the judgment and timing of such a sale.”

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