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Pakistan may get F-16s by July: experts

Updated May 20, 2016 07:35am


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WASHINGTON: Defence experts in the US capital believe that Pakistan may get the disputed F-16s by the end of July, despite a strong opposition from American lawmakers.

The experts, who spoke to Dawn, said that the Obama administration would ultimately succeed in convincing Congress that it was in America’s interest to enable Pakistan to buy the aircraft.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration informed Islamabad that it was ready to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, as it wanted. The US Senate, however, prevented the administration from subsidising the deal, although it endorsed the sale.

On Tuesday, the White House warned Congress that its effort to restrict US military assistance to Pakistan would hurt US interests in the region and would “unnecessarily complicate progress” in ties with Pakistan.

Earlier this month, the Hou­se Armed Services Committee endorsed another move to block $450 million in aid to Pakistan for allegedly failing to take action against Afghanistan’s militant Haqqani network.

Defence experts in Washington say that the Obama administration has reached out to several key lawmakers in both chambers of the US Congress, urging them to reconsider both restrictions --- on the F-16s and military assistance.

During a recent visit to India, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter strongly defended the proposed sale, saying that “Pakistan has used F-16s in its operations in the Fata ... we approve of those operations... and where we can cooperate with Pakistan in that regard, we do”.

The defence experts here say that such statements indicate improvement in relations between the defence establishments of the two countries. They argue that the Obama administrations fears that “bringing too much pressure” on Pakistan may have negative consequences and may also increase anti-American sentiments in the country.

On Wednesday, State Department’s spokesman John Kirby noted that “the Pakistani people have suffered at the hands of terrorists for far too long”, while underlining Washington’s desire to stay engaged with Pakistan.

Diplomatic observers in Washington pointed out that both sides were being “pragmatic” in seeking to revive their ties.

“Both sides know that they cannot go back to the relationship they had during the cold war or after 9/11,” said a senior diplomat while talking to Dawn.

“The Americans envisage a greater role for India in the region and Pakistanis are willing to work with that, provided it’s not at the cost of their national interest,” he added.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2016


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Comments (72) Closed

Sachin May 20, 2016 07:58am

that's fair & I don't think India would resist provided Pakistan cooperate & protect cum respect the national interest of other countries too Whether its India, Iran or Afghanistan.

Zak May 20, 2016 08:14am

“The Americans envisage a greater role for India in the region and Pakistanis are willing to work with that, provided it’s not at the cost of their national interest,” he added.

We don't a hoot, but keep the role towards the east and don't dare come our way, or else.....

TechnoKraft May 20, 2016 08:16am

Buying something from someone who you don't trust AND who is not even willing to sell YOU is a recipe for a failure. Specially with such a complicated equipment where so many parts can be monitored by illuminati controlled bases.

Pakistan must spend it's allocated budget on indigenous weapons and jets

Rocky May 20, 2016 08:29am

Even if USA provides these F-16s, It would be humiliation for PAK if they accept these jets. I would suggest that when USA would be ready with jets then PAK should refuse to accept that will give good message to USA.

Awan May 20, 2016 08:32am

Where is our self reliance by the way?. Recently i read a report and i was shocked to hear that PAF has not been able to produce a single jet engine since 1947. Same is the case with 4th generation radars and avionics. Even JF17 has a Russian RD93 engine and French avionics. Germans were able to produce the Jet engine 65 years ago and we cannot even do it today. Kindly scrutinize the Research and Development funding of all Armed forces. Billions are being spent on research and in the end we are always begging for technologies.

Chicago May 20, 2016 08:39am

Pakistan needs to play its cards wisely, confidently. Don't forget you are a nuclear and responsible state.

INDIA May 20, 2016 09:10am

Good news...

Ali Asghar May 20, 2016 09:18am

What is so special about F16 that we cannot survive without them. Why can't we look into alternatives such as chineese J10. Even better spend this money into local R&D.

High time we move away from relying on the Americans or for that matter on anyone else but ourselves.

Truth Mirror May 20, 2016 09:27am

Flip Flops of USA trying to satisfy both Pak and India.

Ultimately no nation can use N.weapons because of possible destruction of full country by resulting strike.

When war happens both nations will be destroyed from world map.

Jaffar Akbari May 20, 2016 09:44am

With that much of opposition in US against selling F16s to Pakistan it is now not in our interest to go for F16s. It is important to note that Congress has blocked the sale on presumption that the planes will be used against India, their most important ally after Israel. Even if they do agree to go with the sale there is strong possibility that the planes will be made incapable of being used against India. With the the advanced technology available with them they may restrict the planes movement towards India. That can be done by making the F16 s electronic systems tojam or planes explode if they fly beyond a certain longitude and latitude relevant to India. We all know that India is our only enemy and we need the planes only to defend ourselves against India. As for terrorists we can fight them with drones as America does. It is better to go for Russian, Chinese or European hard ware.

Beaver May 20, 2016 09:50am

Does not look likely after today's vote in the House for conditional military aid to Pakistan.

Hurray May 20, 2016 11:07am

We can now use wherever we want. We are a sovereign country!!!! If countries want to nuclearize the Indian Ocean we can use it against them!! We believe in peace first!

Justice May 20, 2016 11:12am

Our govt should stop dreaming and make alternate plans.

Of course May 20, 2016 11:17am

8 F16's at the price of a nations self respect.

Iqbal May 20, 2016 11:51am

Dream on. US House decides on conditional military aid for Pakistan. already decided!

Sajjad May 20, 2016 11:55am

It was a simple matter of giving just 8 numbers of American F -16 fighter planes to Pakistan. But a big hype was created thus giving clear warning to Pakistan that here after US shall be very very conservative while giving military aid to Pakistan . Simultaneously India is being offered huge military assistance. .

Zak May 20, 2016 12:02pm

It's the plane manufacturers who have gone into action and are livid with India and the paid lobbyists congressman who are denying them their livelihoods by stopping the sale. The subsidized sale will go through and no one will be able to stop it.

pervez May 20, 2016 12:06pm

Pakistan simply cannot be ignored. Ignore us at your own cost

Shoka Laddoo May 20, 2016 12:20pm

another lesson. We need to invest as much as we can on... Education.

Atam Vetta May 20, 2016 12:45pm

The relations between the Defence establishments of US & Pak have invariably been good. Indeed, a photo of General Raheel & other Pak Generals decorates Pentagon. The problem is with the US Congress. One has to doubt the US defence expert's view. The fact is that Pak can take home the 8 F-16 today if she pays for them. The problem relates to the US 'subsidy'. In the twilight of Obama Presidency and with the November elections on the horizon, neither the house not the Congress will agree to finance the sale.

Observer May 20, 2016 12:48pm

Now it is proved that we will not leave any stone upturned when it is question of begging.

Issah May 20, 2016 12:51pm

All drama US will approve f16 in the end but will give India in return all they want.

lafanga May 20, 2016 12:59pm

@Sachin Is India respecting/protecting the national interest of Pakistan? A big NO so why do you expect from Pakistan which you don't abide by yourself?

AKNasser May 20, 2016 01:03pm

Make JF-17B completely operational, don't rely on foreign Jet fighters.

Pakistan First May 20, 2016 01:22pm

Lets say no to grants and aid. There are always strings attached to them. Lets be independent. Lets be Pakistan.

yabhati Pakistan May 20, 2016 01:47pm

We r losing self respect for d jets......y nt improve jf17. It will take time bt we will be proud.

CrimemasterGogo May 20, 2016 01:51pm

@Zak Actions need to be louder than words, my friend. Talk is cheap.

Khwarezmi May 20, 2016 01:51pm

Pakistan's defence interests are with our real friend China and with our true and only brother Turkey. Pakistan should have normal diplomatic ties with US like Brunai.

Pakistani planners must have known history would repeat her self with US afte Afghanistan?

I hope Pakistan never see any F-16s or any other US manufactured defence equipment ever again. People, it is time to move on!

Common Pakistani May 20, 2016 01:56pm

Pakistan played its cards well. Great job...

Battleaxe May 20, 2016 02:02pm

Why create the fuss at the first place ?

Shehzad May 20, 2016 02:48pm

Back channels diplomacy worked.

Zak May 20, 2016 03:14pm

@CrimemasterGogo Those who heed warnings by talk avoid the dire consequences by action. learn that lesson.

Zak May 20, 2016 03:17pm

@Khwarezmi We buy the best because we are the best. Remember in US a friendly country, there will be those who do the bidding of our enemies. The sold out. But we have always come on top, the enemy has lost in all its objectives.

Shammi May 20, 2016 03:27pm

They're playing good cop bad cop with us to make us bend.

SAEED MASOOD May 20, 2016 03:32pm

Can not trust America Pakistan must find other means...

Skeptic May 20, 2016 03:38pm

The keyword is 'May'. And it could be 'never'. Lets not get excited already!

CrimemasterGogo May 20, 2016 03:56pm

@Zak US is a friendly country? So they stopped the $450mn in aid as a token of your friendship?

Tahir May 20, 2016 04:07pm

not surprised PM Nawaz is willing to agree to increased Indian role in the region.. we have seen the consequence of this in the form of rising proxy wars throughout Pakistan since 9/11. Over 75k dead Pakistanis while the Americans repeat their unappreciative comments whilst providing every kind of assistance to India to destabilize the nuclear and conventional balance at the detriment of Pakistan.

Americans can keep their F16's, we will keep our sovereignty and dignity whilst keeping Indians out of Pakistan's back yard.

Thankfully General Raheel is now combating Indian terrorism and as a Pakistani, i dont think we should allow India to even look in direction towards west of Pakistan.

Tahir May 20, 2016 04:10pm

@Awan Only a handful of nations have the technology to build aircraft engines.. not even China has succeeded at this yet although its nearly has a working engine.

indians failed miserably in the Kaveri engine and after humilation have ordered f18 engines for its while elephant Hal Tejas.

Accountability May 20, 2016 04:28pm

It seems another test case in foreign relations. Pakistani leaders must maintain dignity of their country under external pressures. 180,000,000 Pakistanis deserve some respect as well.

AlifLaila May 20, 2016 04:33pm

@Rocky my brother the payments are made in advance.

Accountability May 20, 2016 04:37pm

@Rocky Fully agree. Refuse and maintain dignity of the nation. Gradually reduce dependency on other nations. Strong economy requires capable and dedicated political leaders. When you have money, many would line up to sell you what you want.

Raja Khalid May 20, 2016 04:41pm

"Lets give them hope", this is the agenda by the Americans due to recent visit of COAS to China. Pakistan must bow out of this deal.

Peter May 20, 2016 05:03pm

Pakistani ruling elite seriously lack self respect

hamza khan May 20, 2016 05:20pm

@Sachin india needs to respect pakistans national interest and stop spreading terrorim inside its borders and exporting it to other neighboring countries.

hamza khan May 20, 2016 05:24pm

@Ali Asghar pragmatism. PAF air headquarters studies various options. pakistan needs F16s as a stop gap before 5th gen chinese aircraft (which pak will get) mature in 4-5 years.

Josh May 20, 2016 06:07pm

@Jaffar Akbari I will be highly surprised if the PAF folks already haven't figured out how to disable the disabling mechanism put in by the U.S. engineers. When Pakistan initially got its F-16s, I am sure this is the FIRST thing they worked on. I know my breed :-)

KPK May 20, 2016 06:29pm

Americans can paint it anyway they want but end of the day Pakistan is the most important factor for peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Iran are the two countries which can help due to the ethnic ties with afghans. As for the blockage of 8 F16s, it clearly shows Americans are desperate for Pakistani help. Pakistanis know very well it's the same congress which placed sanctions on Pakistan after soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 therefore no lost love here. This time Pakistanis are just playing by American rules!

N_Saq May 20, 2016 06:41pm

Pak will get the F-16s one way or the other as it allows US to keep leverage over Pk. US under no circumstances wants to lose its influence over Pk and is fully aware of Pk moving towards China. If Pak-China shift happens then the US will completely lose its control over Pk which will complicate things in the region.

The main problem with Pak-US relation is that it is based on military to military, there is no people to people contact. Whenever US reps visit Pk the discussion is all about security and there are no town hall meetings to discuss other issues which interest public.

The main reason the politicians do not want the US reps to talk to the general public directly is because they are busy in devouring all the aid received from US and sending it to their personal bank accts instead of spending it for public benefit. Above all, Mullahism is the core problem. With their anti US slogans, how can US establish good relations with Pk when Mullahs are hell bent upon destroying US?

M.Saeed May 20, 2016 06:58pm

Now, we should refuse the belated and malignant favor!

Puranjai May 20, 2016 07:24pm

@Tahir Indians are not failed in Jet Engine kaveri but its thrust was not equivalent to desired.The jet engines are not developed overnight and even china with so much money is still struggling.India has got a lot of experience by funding in its R &D and a number of prototypes were developed.Its derivative is going to be used in drones.About Tejas, it going to soar high in the sky soon as a combat fighter and it is 4.5 gen fighter.India is spending alot of money in R&D and you should read about AMCA as its design phase is also complete.Sooner or later,govt is going to fully fund it.

Chicago May 20, 2016 08:21pm

@Ali Asghar What PAF and Air chief Marshal failed to tell nation that this is the best and accurate technology still in the market, there is no match for accuracy even with new aircrafts in the world.

Jamshed May 20, 2016 08:53pm

@Sachin You don't decide what is fair and what is not and don't be a mouthpiece of other counties, these countries are our neighbors, not Nepal,BD or SriLanka. It is India that need to respect Pakistan's territorial integrity and stop terrorism from Afghanistan. We will do what is in our interest and get F16 soon than later. Just wait. And remember 1971.

Rahul May 20, 2016 09:14pm

US will agree to F-16 deal when Pakistan agrees to pro-India government in Afghanistan. It is quid pro quo.

aslam shaikh May 20, 2016 09:18pm

Please don't give us these 30 year old planes. Let us be free and and develop our own drones.

Saikat May 20, 2016 09:42pm

@Of course It is not self respect, but a false sense of pride. Pride for what? Failed policies of past? Harboring terrorists? Prosecuting someone who helped capture a terrorist? What is human with Pride but devoid of Logic? Pakistan needs to change and evolve.

Salman May 20, 2016 10:30pm

If Pakistan just has to pay JUST $240 million for these 8 start of art F16s (block 52) than its one hell of a deal for Pakistan Air force.

Zak May 21, 2016 01:26am

@Shoka Laddoo give that advise to india,nwhere 78% of children are out of school.

ali May 21, 2016 01:29am

so what will Pakistan will do after getting F-16?

Zak May 21, 2016 01:30am

@CrimemasterGogo ...and yet they have given $8 billion to date. And as I said, it's a long friendship with enemies of pakistan and US causing hiccups every now and then. But friendship remains friendship.

Zak May 21, 2016 03:21am

USA is Pakistan's friend in need and will let the sale happen. These are just pressure tactics. They can't do without a critical country like Pakistan - a strategically located nuclear power also backed by China.

Jasmine Arora May 21, 2016 11:02am

@Hamza khan. Tell me one anti-Pakistan group that had ever originated in India?

Abdul Karim May 21, 2016 03:15pm

@Jasmine Arora ..This is what you have written..."Tell me one anti-Pakistan group that had ever originated in India?"-------> India's RAW is supporting Afghanistan's Kabul Government and elements of northern alliance plus logistic, weapon, financial, organizational support to TTP & al-Qaeda against Pakistan plus anti-Pakistan elements & underground terror groups in Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan.

sri1 May 21, 2016 03:21pm

Maybe its time for lateral thinking outside the box. If the Americans ensure somehow that the F16s provided can never be used outside Pakistani territory using embedded software, positioning systems and pilot turn-back-or-land-else-system-failure warnings, then both American requirements and Pakistani verbal assertions get fulfilled.

Raul Maz May 21, 2016 03:37pm

Pakistan already have approx 70 F-16. will eight more make its position strong in fighting terror. Its drain of public money for a few to get rich.

Abdul Karim May 21, 2016 05:26pm

@sri1 ...The same should apply to India, that jets supplied to India from Western countries are not used against Pakistan.

Shakil May 21, 2016 07:42pm

F-16 is more than 3 decades old design and is too small to play bigger role for Pakistan. PAF needs more powerful planes with much longer range and endurance.

Alla Bux May 21, 2016 10:24pm

@Abdul Karim The difference is that while jets were 'supplied' to us, India PAID for its jets.

Guruji May 21, 2016 11:26pm

@Rocky Excellent idea

Kyoorius May 22, 2016 12:47am

@Chicago Not only that your pilots feels at home with them cause they have been flying them for so many years. And last but not the least, the spare parts. Very critical for maintenance.

Kyoorius May 22, 2016 12:54am

@sri1 You are not riding a $100 bicycle at 10 kms an hour of which you can jam the paddles and apply the brakes in the middle of the road without causing much damage. You are flying a $100 million jet at 1000s of feet at 2200 km/hour. My friend think again.

Zee May 22, 2016 11:45pm

@Awan Good point, but no country's air force ever built an engines. Air force only fly planes, it is design bureaus like MiG, Sukhoi, Lockheed, Boeing that make them