US Senate clears F-16 deal to Pakistan

F-16

The US Senate has rejected a resolution to block the $700 million proposed deal to sale eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan by some top lawmakers. The Senate declined the resolution by a 71-24 margin efforts by some lawmakers to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

As a matter of fact, 24 Senators (12 Democrats, 12 Republicans) went against the Democratic executives, and the Republican legislative leadership showed the extent of bipartisan distrust in the country. One lawmaker described the bipartisanship during debate as a “Frenemy…part friend and a lot of enemy.”

The debate that accompanied the vote showed how Washington-Islamabad ties are no longer as strong as they once used to be.

The Obama administration is guided by tactical considerations and an arms lobby driven by jobs and money seemed to have had their way.

Indian and American diplomats keenly watched the legislative debate engineered by Senator Rand Paul (Republican). He used a rarely-used provision in the Arms Export Control Act to force a vote – after an hour of debate — in the full Senate to block the sale of the F-16s to Pakistan.

In fact, Washington wants to ensure that Pakistan does not drift down towards China and Russia for such purchases in the future.

“It’s about whether we as a country would prefer for Pakistan to buy American made fighter jets or whether we would prefer them to buy Russian jets or French jets,” Republican Senator Bob Corker said. Mr Croker added that he supports the deal but will not allow the US taxpayer to subsidise it. He has called for a hold on financing to assure that there are behavior changes that take place in Pakistan and make sure that no US dollars go towards this sale.

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