Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

US govt supports sale of F-16s to Pakistan: official

Updated May 09, 2016 10:06am

Email


Your Name:


Recipient Email:


WASHINGTON: The US State Department has informed Congress that it wants to retain the flexibility that foreign assistance provides, to do business with Pakistan.

“It is critical that the State Department maintains the flexibility to provide assistance for Pakistan that advances US interests,” said a department official when asked how the recent congressional restrictions could affect US-Pakistan relations.

“We seek aid for Pakistan because it’s in our interests; it advances our broader security interests, and meets critical humanitarian and development needs,” the official told Dawn.

The official pointed out that the State Department’s assistance request for fiscal 2017 was down by over 60 per cent from the high point earlier in the decade (2010).

“We think the funding level requested is appropriate and in our interest,” he added.

The US Congress recently stopped the administration from using its foreign military financing (FMF) facility to enable Pakistan to buy eight F-16s. Also, a congressional panel endorsed a draft bill to block $450 million in aid to Pakistan for failing to take action against the Haqqani network.

The restrictions have strained relations between the United States and Pakistan that were getting back to normal after years of tensions. The recent developments also show that Pakistan has not won back the friends it has lost on Capitol Hill since 2011.

Pakistan reacted to the congressional restrictions by pledging to buy aircraft from other sources, apparently China, and rejected the claim that it was allowing militant groups to use its territory for carrying out attacks in Afghanistan.

Policy makers in Washington disagree with Congress’s approach and fear that it would not achieve the desired result of persuading Pakistan to be more cooperative in the war against terrorists.

“As a general matter, the Department of State would oppose conditions on assistance that would limit the president and secretary of state’s ability to provide assistance in the best interests of the United States,” said the State Department official.

The official noted that while Congress had not sought to block the sale, key members had made it clear that they objected to using FMF to support the sale.

“Given the Congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for the purchase,” the official said.

When asked what the State Department was doing to deal with the situation caused by the congressional restrictions, he said: “I would prefer to keep the details of our conversations with the Hill and Pakistan on this issue private.”

But “we support the sale, and we will continue to work with Congress. However, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for the purchase, given Congressional objections,” he added.

The official also backed Pakistan’s claim that it needed the F-16s to fight militants and not to use them against India, as some lawmakers suggested in congressional debates.

“The administration continues to support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan to assist Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations,” he said.

“Pakistan’s current F-16s have supported these operations to date. These operations reduce the ability of certain militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven for terrorism and a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan,” he added.

The official pointed out that such operations were “in the interests of Pakistan, the United States, Nato and in the interest of the region more broadly”.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2016

Email


Your Name:


Recipient Email:




Comments (29) Closed



Zak May 09, 2016 08:30am

US needs Pakistan, sooner or later US will double the aid amount and sell F16s for free and issue an apology.

Vap May 09, 2016 10:16am

And the F-16 Saga continues...

Satt May 09, 2016 10:28am

Some consolation.

Fruitsalad May 09, 2016 10:28am

as if this is not F-16 and now a matter of pride, the way media has covered this episode.

Deepak Kumar May 09, 2016 10:31am

Forget US now.. Nothing will come from there. Find some other destination

shinoba May 09, 2016 10:36am

why such desperation for f16? Pakistan have enough money. why don't they buy instead of taking gift. Pakistan should not prove that they are begging for f16. have some self respect. buy it.

M. Zaki May 09, 2016 10:37am

Lets see, how does this helps? Deal or No-Deal

MD SOHAN(BD) May 09, 2016 10:45am

U.S aid in defense, Is it much need for Pakistan?????

RAJA CHILL May 09, 2016 11:12am

Non ending swings on the matter...

Nirvana May 09, 2016 11:23am

@shinoba

Except it was the US that proposed the sale in the first place, not Pakistan. Besides, Pakistan has already made clear that it will not buy the fighters, if there are preconditions to them. They would rather buy from other nations, than the US, so your argument is pretty flawed.

indic May 09, 2016 12:20pm

How can a country insist that subsidy be given to it?

Aatir ehrar May 09, 2016 12:35pm

Why don't we get one f-16, reverse engineer it and then start making such jets locally?

SDA May 09, 2016 01:06pm

@shinoba Your business acumen is a little weak.

rehan May 09, 2016 01:21pm

Seriously , Pakistan needs to look elsewhere. There would a "Do more" clause even if Pakistan pays in full for the F 16s !

Just Someone May 09, 2016 01:56pm

@rehan : There should be a "Do More" clause for the US.

Sam May 09, 2016 01:59pm

Plz but it, stop begging from this incidence

Taimoor Khan May 09, 2016 02:20pm

From outside, looking at America, it is very confusing to know as to who is actually ruling the country! This F16 deal was a state to state, or government to government commitment. Now we are hearing some non government individuals are so powerful in America to scuttle this state to state commitment.

Mudassar May 09, 2016 02:49pm

Thank you very much, we fight your misdirected war and we have to pay for it too. We have done enough damage to our economy, Please buy back the F16's we already paid for and we will go elsewhere to get what we want and need.

Bilal May 09, 2016 02:56pm

We want peace NOT fighter jets !

qaiser ahmed May 09, 2016 03:08pm

Enough is enough. Let us for once demonstrate our sovereign courage and walk away from this fiasco and use what funds we have to improve our education infrastructure. Let us not forget that "the pen is mightier than the sword."

by doing so we can demonstrate to Congress our sovereign courage

ali ghous May 09, 2016 03:12pm

we need F16 in aid.. nah we need technology to enrich the poor as aid

Farooqsohail May 09, 2016 03:14pm

A good decision of US govternment. For the last many decades Pakistan has been supporting US stands in the region. It pay a heavy cost for it, too since the invasion of Russian forces in 1979 and after 9/11 attack in US in 2001. It is a long partnership, which pakistan continue even US has been showing tilt towards India in the past on many occasions. In fact, US is indebited to pakistan ethically, economically and in all ways since it has been a true friend of US in the past. so issue of only eight F-16 should be a pity one which does not rise between two friendly states

Nabeel May 09, 2016 04:15pm

Pakistan does not need their 8 F16 fighters. Seriously not giving Pakistan was the Best decision for Pakistan. Don't fight their wars on our soil. Enough beloved Pakistani have spilled their blood to please them. As for the fighter jet our home grown F17 thunder is a beautiful agile fighter. We are in love with F17 thunder. We want to work and evolve. Just say thank you very much. U did us a great favour :)

Ahmedj May 09, 2016 05:26pm

One can understand F16 for PAF but there had been F86, F104 and many more which were PAF's backbone. Technology comes and goes and such reliance on F16 is temporary for a limited time. Move forward and search and discover better options. SU35s were one option the Russians were offering.

Karma Dorji May 09, 2016 05:40pm

They didn't say anything new did they? They are still saying come up with the money.

Deepak Kumar May 09, 2016 05:46pm

@Taimoor Khan I don't from where I should start, but Congress is not non-governmental thing.

Ali May 09, 2016 06:45pm

The United States and Pakistan partnership is "vital" in the global War on Terror. Pakistan is the front-line state fighting this war with 60,000 killed and $100 billion in economic losses has suffered more than any other country. Therefore, those US Congressmen creating hurdles in the delivery of eight F-16s to Pakistan, should think again, as their actions will help the terrorists and prolong the war.

Some Congressmen are obviously influenced by the Indian lobby in Washington. They should be working for US national interests and not those of another country. They should be working for regional and world peace. NATO / ISAF combat mission ended in Afghanistan, but the war did not. Pakistan's role and responsibility has increased. Therefore, US assistance to Pakistan must be increased, not decreased?

POLITY May 09, 2016 08:55pm

Go for SU-35 or J-11

Nabeel May 10, 2016 01:01am

F17 thunder is our answer to this drama which has been played in history so much. Equally good agile fighter jet even better. No parts problems no software upgrade problem and fully upgradable. Say No to F16. Thank you. We want peace in our land not war. We want peace with our neighbours.