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WASHINGTON: The Obama administration notified the Congress on Friday that it planned to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

The proposed deal will now go through a 30-day notification period after which it will be finalised.

Earlier this week, the US State Department informed Congress that it was committed to improving Pakistan’s precision strike capability, which was seen as a veiled reference to F-16 fighter jets.

And on Thursday, a State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said at a news briefing that US weapon sales to Pakistan contributed to the fight against terrorism and furthered Amer­ica’s foreign policy interests.

The remarks followed a move by some US lawmakers and a campaign in the US media to stop the Obama administration from selling eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Although Congress has delayed the proposed sale, the administration still seems interested in pushing it through, insisting that it’s in vital US interests to do so.

At the State Department news briefing, an Indian journalist asked spokesman Mark Toner if US Secretary of State John Kerry had received a letter Republican Senator Bob Corker sent to him on Tuesday, asking him to stop the proposed sale to Pakistan.

“As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on proposed arms sales or transfers or even our preliminary consultations with the Hill, with Capitol Hill, prior to any formal congressional notification,” Mr Toner replied.

But he offered to address the broader issue of US security assistance to Pakistan, saying: “We are committed to working with Congress to deliver security assistance to our partners and our allies that we believe furthers US foreign policy interests by building the capacity to meet shared security challenges.”

Responding to another question about terrorists using safe havens inside Pakistan to attack US troops in Afghanistan, Mr Toner said: “We believe US security assistance to Pakistan actually contributes to their counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.”

Further explaining this point, he added that such operations “reduce the ability of militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven to carry out terrorist attacks and as a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan.”

That’s why, he said, the United States believes “these operations are in the interests of both Pakistan and the United States and in the interests of the region more broadly.”

Asked if he had any figures to back up the claim that US assistance to Pakistan had reduced terrorist activities, Mr Toner said he did not have such figures in front of him but noted that no country in the region had been more touched by terrorism than Pakistan.

“We believe it’s in our vital national security interests to support Pakistan in carrying out its efforts to destroy these terrorist networks, and we believe it’s an important partner in the region in achieving a stable and secure Afghanistan,” said the US official.

Mr Toner said the US also welcomed Pakistan’s efforts to support Afghan-led reconciliation talks. He noted that recently, Pakistan hosted the Heart of Asia ministerial and two of the first three meetings of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group.

“And they have carried out multiple operations against some of these terrorist networks that are operating on their soil,” he said.

“We believe that destroying, eliminating those networks is in our national security interests, as well as the security interests of the region,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2016

Comments (85) Closed

Ghazal Feb 13, 2016 06:58am

Why f-16 when Pakistan has jf-17, even India rejected f-16 to go for rafale. Now why would Sri Lanka , malasiya, Qatar etc buy jf-17

Hobara bustards Feb 13, 2016 07:14am

Education education education and education..

Ahmed USA Feb 13, 2016 07:27am

Congratulations Pakistan... Here are your latest F-16s.

Akram Feb 13, 2016 07:37am

8 is always a lollipop number.

Hasan Feb 13, 2016 07:55am

This is bad news for Pakistan. Decades of poisoned gifts from our Yank "friends" seem to have taught our policymakers nothing.


Truth Feb 13, 2016 08:08am

Where are 32 already paid for ?

L.Ahmad Feb 13, 2016 08:13am

They were first introduced in 1978. I doubt if USA is selling the latest version.

Dr. Farooq Khan Feb 13, 2016 08:15am

Dear US,

If you want Pakistan to fight against terrorism, build an MIT, Stanford, California and Harvard University Campuses in Islamabad to promote technological advancement. This will be more devastating.

ZTech Feb 13, 2016 08:17am

Money should not be spent at this time on these toys. We need to educate our children and spend on all level of education. This money could have been spent on financing new professorships and institutes of higher learning.

Musharraf Feb 13, 2016 08:18am

@Truth Adjusted towards interest on the loan taken.

Samir Feb 13, 2016 08:19am

Count them on your fingers....

Badar Feb 13, 2016 08:28am

@Truth -- Delivered long time ago

Rayhan Feb 13, 2016 08:33am

It's time Pakistan align itself with Russia....and buy latest Su-35 fighter jets that even China has bought from Russia...otherwise we will never get our from US govt black mailing all the time.

Zak Feb 13, 2016 08:34am

Not enough, we need latest generation F35 125 Nos, we reject this deal of 8 obsolete F16s .

MD SOHAN(BD) Feb 13, 2016 08:38am

How much price it is,Anyone can tell me?

sana Feb 13, 2016 08:52am

@MD SOHAN(BD) It is free , you can get it too if you join the war on terror.

Omar Feb 13, 2016 08:53am

Why only eight. Pakistan needs more combat aircrafts. We need a solid 80 more to boost our current inventory. Our country is relatively large and needs more robust air support cover

taimoor khan Feb 13, 2016 08:59am

Sorry US, We don't eat peanuts.

A Shah Feb 13, 2016 09:32am

What about investing in schools, energy, our children's future?

Zak Feb 13, 2016 09:40am

@A Shah Not until we are completely safe and able to protect our children from enemies.

Awais Ali Feb 13, 2016 09:56am

@Hobara bustards Education is must but minimum defense capability is also compulsory otherwise your enemy will bite you internally and externally.

Chaitannya Mahatme Feb 13, 2016 10:05am

If I am not wrong the price of F-16 is close to $600 million & Rafael is close to $440 million. IMO India takes lot of time, but evaluates the decision very carefully. Certainly India is must be very disappointed with this development. This implies in politics it only the vestigial interests that matter. For US the deal must be at least a $4 billion worth, better to keep Pak hanging on their or else they would have opted for Euro fighter typhoon , Rafael or worse (for US) Sukhoi. This number is just enough to make sure the arms race is maintained at level where there is no spill over.

To make up for the disappointment US would throw some lollipops to India.

pervez Feb 13, 2016 10:06am

Amazingly childish and not thought through comments. Please check pakistan current f16 fleet. The numbers have risen slowly but surely. Base model f16 was designed in the 1970s but like everything its evolved and yes we have upgraded the entire fleet. We even have f16 with conformal fuel tanks. Those of you you foci on education well let me tell you there are degrees galore in pakistan yet problem is at home and in the families. If we have no defence then we have no country and what will u study then

Mian Shahid Mehmood Feb 13, 2016 10:21am

What a clever sales man the Americans are. Receiving money hard earned by poor Pakistanis for the sale of F-16 yet showing shameful attitude of benevolence for Pakistan. Except for Pakistan's like purchasers of American arms, the American economy is alive and all the Americans should be thankful to Pakistan and its people, they are purchasing from Americans, otherwise, they would have doomed economically.

AIB Feb 13, 2016 10:21am

Us is making good money from both india and pakistan.

PARIKSHITH Feb 13, 2016 10:24am

@sana that was hilarious. thanks for the laugh!

San Francisco Feb 13, 2016 10:27am

Focus on peace, prosperity, education, Heath care, clean water and energy for every house hold will be nice. These 8 F16 will last may be twenty years but the new generation will not able to enjoy basic necessities. I can not walk on a street with an iPhone in my hand.

fareed Feb 13, 2016 10:30am

pakistan should not purchase this out dated jet but commission mafia always purchased outdated weapons just to fill their pockets.

Amit Feb 13, 2016 10:39am

Countries like India and Pakistan are funding West's defense budget by buying their old and discarded toys. Each of this fighter plane is costly enough to establish one moderate size science and tech university.

Peace Feb 13, 2016 10:45am

India should really not get into all these. If India can go to Mars, why can't India build its own jets? Its all about corruptions and commissions the concern departments get for these kind of deals. India should not make such deal if US is not ready to transfer the technology.

Shalimar Feb 13, 2016 10:50am

And the race of destruction continues...

abdullah Feb 13, 2016 10:55am

It was better if we had more schools instead of these toys.atleast cut them half and put the rest of the money for opening schools.

SK Feb 13, 2016 11:05am

What happened to JF-17 Thunder?

Skeptic Feb 13, 2016 11:17am

Peanuts. And an insult. Besides these are all outdated, reconditioned models

And the Americans consider Pakistan its 'most important non-NATO ally' and want the Pakistanis to do 'more' in the fight against extremism and the Talibans.

Pakistan should refuse this handout and buy from Europe or Russia instead. Too much groveling leads to loss of dignity and this sort of foot dragging and insults.

Umair Feb 13, 2016 11:17am

No more F16s! Please get some latest Russsian jets

Amused Audience Feb 13, 2016 11:34am

@Akram It's not a lollipop brother. The figures were given by Pakistan and there must be some definite technical reason behind such numbers of jets PAF wants to procure. I am not sure, but I have read somewhere that PAF wants to complete a squadron so they require only this many jets for the purpose.

Neeraj Feb 13, 2016 11:36am

Out of 5-6 contestants we rejected F-16 in the first round. It was inferior to other like Rafale, Eurofighter, etc. It did not even clear the first technical round, and yet was the most expensive one! However good luck with your purchase.

Zain Feb 13, 2016 11:48am

@Hobara bustards what good is education when you can't defend yourself? Think before you speak!

Prashantjain Feb 13, 2016 11:52am

Pakistan should ask for technology transfer so that they could assemble in Pakistan itself,this will help reducing cost and help to built more f-16 in Pakistan and in future exports is also possible.

Rahul Mishra Feb 13, 2016 12:01pm

Congratulations USA and Pakistan !! After all US has created this message and its their responsibility to clear the same. Pakistan can survive without US but US cannot..and they know it. If this want the case they would had left Afghanistan long back...

pure Ind Feb 13, 2016 12:35pm

@Zain if this is your thought process then God Save Pakistan, friend its education that comes first, do you think that its the uneducated persons who built these machines. A nation that doesn't prioritise education will always loose in the longer run.

Erik Feb 13, 2016 12:46pm

To all those who want Pakistan to spend on education - how many of you contribute towards educating a child in Pakistan?

faisal Feb 13, 2016 12:47pm

its a mistake. walk away from F16s. there are lots of capable fighters available in market. create your own architecture.. buy from different countries.

Aditya Feb 13, 2016 12:50pm

@Neeraj Dear it was F18 A/E Hornet. F 16 was not even considered.

Ahsan Feb 13, 2016 12:57pm

@Erik Dear Erik! People, who are commenting on the need of education, do not have any responsibility for providing funds for the education. It's government responsibility to spend on education.
I hope people commenting in favour of education are fulfilling their duties by giving taxes.

Nobody Feb 13, 2016 01:08pm

What happened to the much hyped JF-Thunder aircraft's ?

Vectra Feb 13, 2016 01:09pm

US State Dept notified sales to Congress as giving notification is must as per law but has Congress approved it or is yet to approve??

answer plz and what if US Congress refuses to approve any other option??

Amused Audience Feb 13, 2016 01:12pm

@fareed Again you are sadly mistaken. PAF wants these jets for some very valid reasons. These jets are still one of the most potent and formidable platform. PAF pilots, engineers and technicians possess excellent command on its usage, the maintenance cost of this jet is almost negligible in the sense that PAF has a very strong infra-structure available to operate it.

M. Malik Feb 13, 2016 01:28pm

@Nobody Nothing happened to it. It has its own limited functions which is not comparable with F-16s.

Azim Feb 13, 2016 01:56pm

@Erik we pay tax... Govt is supposed to not us individually...

yogi Feb 13, 2016 02:11pm

Time to learn from Pakistan.

Atam Vetta Feb 13, 2016 02:14pm

@sana . Sorry, these planes are NOT free. The problem with the Congress arose because of the loan structure that the Obama Govt. proposed and required Congress approval. Otherwise Congress has NO right to interfere in a commercial sale.

Vectra Feb 13, 2016 02:19pm

Eight F-16s will be sold to Pakistan, Congress told but have Congress approved it yet as just notifying them is as per paw???

mukul Feb 13, 2016 02:26pm

Should have gone for Rafael or mig jets.. we had also rejected F-16s

Raja Parekh Feb 13, 2016 02:52pm

Now IAF will have to work little harder.

Kamal Pasha Feb 13, 2016 03:29pm

@Raja Parekh, Yes, now IAF has to work hard. For Pakistan US is and always will work hard for Pakistan. They have been doing it since 1947.

fahd Feb 13, 2016 03:37pm

@Omar paf is just completing one complete squadron of F-16s . we bought 13 F-16s from jordan. 8 is just to complete the required strength of squadron. they will most likely go to number 19 squadron.

Samir Feb 13, 2016 04:00pm

@SK Sold without export controls. F-16 has export controls as to who can access the plane and not, who it can be used against etc. Modern avionics is all electronic and hacking is inevitable so JF-17 should never be sold without export controls.

Sohail Khan Feb 13, 2016 04:07pm

What is the opportunity cost ? 20 well equipped schools, 20 well equipped hospitals ? or 30 good water desalination plants ? Anyway, Congratulations to the air force.

Azmeen Feb 13, 2016 04:14pm

Addition of F16 will further strengthen Pak security.

malik.malik Feb 13, 2016 04:38pm

Every weapon has its own value and capability. if we need slap to anyone we will use our hand but if anybody boby standing at a huge distance than we will use stone, stick or anything which can cover that distance brothers pls understand India has VERY AGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR AGAINT PAKISTAN.

Real Pakistani Feb 13, 2016 05:15pm

These are the latest Block 52 jets. Add to the already 63 F-16 Pakistan have in its inventory. Some of them are latest and others have been sent to Turkey for upgrades.

shary Feb 13, 2016 05:21pm

this aircraft is so capable that every unit matters big time. PAF bought 8 to complete one of its squadrons thats been flying two different types of fighters.

M. Siddique Feb 13, 2016 05:25pm

@Ghazal , It is not in competition with India. If they don't want it its their choice.

M. Siddique Feb 13, 2016 05:27pm

Indian lobby on the Capital Hill is getting very powerful. Their propaganda is very effective. Pakistan needs to pay attention and empower its feeble lobby.

Xyz from India Feb 13, 2016 05:38pm

@AIB brother we are not interested with american fighter jets they are selling when the technology available everywhere and we always with Russia and isreail and Japan they give us new technology and we have now our light combat aircraft Tejas another couple of moths our six hundred fighter plane ready to use for our airforce now we are looking for Rafael and sukoi 35 twin series u can search our Tejas Fighter plan in Google

Wajid Hussain Feb 13, 2016 06:10pm

It doesn't matter what Modi and his cronies do Pakistan will get what it wants from the US. Fighting terrorism is a joint effort which the US wants Pakistan to fight

asif Feb 13, 2016 06:48pm

Thanks to US Administration. A wisdom based decision. No harm to any one. The protestors should stop drama if they can, othrrwise no harm to US-PAK relations. Again thanks to PM & US Admn.

Roy Feb 13, 2016 07:10pm

flying F16 has always let me think that it is , yet a great flying machine across the world, even if aged, yet matured over ages, in the shape of Block 52 etc! So, i do recommend this state-of-the-art machine as compared to others.

Jawaab Feb 13, 2016 07:41pm

It's new integrated radar for situational awareness

Battleaxe Feb 13, 2016 07:53pm

The plane is combat proven force multiplier , very good at a many things so this is a matter of worry as it can hold a two hundred Sq km area to itself and by itself .must be the most effective jet that is combat proven and this designation matter. Migs , su , reactors , it has hit allwithout any loss , it's the real McCoy .

Indiana Janardhan Feb 13, 2016 09:10pm

Wish our Congress was more like theirs.

zak Feb 13, 2016 09:50pm

Pakistan has shown brilliance in its maneuverings. It purchased F-16 s from Jordon and some from Turkey and upgraded them to its requirements. It has bought 8 latest ones from US. Its compliment of 80 F-16 s is ample to take on adversaries 3 times its size. Its acquisition of Sukoi-35 s will enable it to dominate the skies for its strategic purposes. PAF is always the best.

Sami Shahid Feb 13, 2016 09:58pm

@Ghazal please stop it.

Sami Shahid Feb 13, 2016 09:59pm

A very sensible decision by the Obama administration

Kashmirisaffron Feb 13, 2016 10:47pm

@Neeraj u dont worry about our purchase. Obviously Pakistan army thought it was a good deal. Might seem odd to you but we trust our armed forces. This deal is Pakistan deal not india deal. If the planes are as useless as you claim i wonder why India is so angry and frustrated about it. So much so that India called upon thw American ambassador to convey their frustration. Pakistan zindabad

Varun Feb 13, 2016 11:54pm

Good for Pakistan. They are capable jets despite the age and will probably do a good job defending it. It's probably my naivety but that's a lot of money that Pakistan, India, and China spend on weapons, the losers are ultimately the general population which misses out on schools, universities, hospitals and other quality of life things. Most of the population doesn't care for wars, they want to go about their daily lives. Yet we can't pursue our ruling classes to settle differences by giving and taking, i.e. negotiating.

Samir Feb 14, 2016 12:15am

@Mian Shahid Mehmood Pakistanis purchasing American planes is peanuts. Its American money in the form of aid that's going to pay for it, that too loan on interest. Hope you understand why they are so lion like. They give the loan and take it back so their economy does not suffer

GARDENER Feb 14, 2016 12:17am

This is totally a none issue, 8 planes is a no big eal at all for India but it is important for Indian leadership to show to the world that any arms deal with Pakistan would invite Indian anger so that any other country like Russia or China should be careful in dealing with Pakistan in future. Wonder what happened to purchase of Russian Mi-35 gunships ?

Mujtaba Iftikhar Feb 14, 2016 02:19am

I have read several commentators saying why Pakistan spending hard earned money on F16. Too be clear F16s are bought through American military aid so basically they are subsidies through them. For example PAF received 24 old build but totally refurbished and 8 Jordanian F16 for basically $50 million which is additional cost over US aid. Pakistan military brass are smart unlike civilian. Now it is another story why not we use the money in education but it is someone else money being used for PAF.

Mamta Santh Feb 14, 2016 03:27am

These are third generation fighter and no match for su-35 and rafael (which India is going to acquire soon). I wonder why Pakistan is after F-16 so badly. She should go for 4th generation fighters to stand a chance against any animosity.

Best wishes from Lucknow!

Imtiaz Ali Khan Feb 14, 2016 09:13am

@Dr. Farooq Khan dear you just stole my words :) Great minds think alike!

Riz Feb 14, 2016 01:31pm

Wow we are so lucky not one or two we getting eight whole F-16, i wonder what is the next best thing that we will get from America?. Maybe Left overs from the thanksgiving dinner.?

Canada For Canadians Feb 15, 2016 05:16am

@Nobody JF would cost money- F16 is basically free.

Omar Feb 15, 2016 10:31am

JUST shutting down PIA saves us a whopping $500 Million. Think about it!