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Zardari meets Senator McCain, seeks support for F-16 sale

Updated June 25, 2016

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LOS ANGELES: Former president Asif Ali Zardari meets US Senator John McCain on Friday.—INP
LOS ANGELES: Former president Asif Ali Zardari meets US Senator John McCain on Friday.—INP

KARACHI: Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday urged the United States to sell F-16 to Pakistan as the country needed the fighter jets and drone technology to fight the war against terrorism, said a statement.

In his meeting with US Senator John McCain in Los Angeles, he also sought the support of the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee of the US in getting the fighter jets, said the statement issued by the Sindh information department.

“Former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari met Senator John McCain in Los Angeles and discussed relations between the US and Pakistan,” it said.

“Mr Zardari sought the senator’s support for Pakistan in getting F-16 from the US and emphasised that Pakistan need F-16 and drone technology to fight the war against terrorism which is the big threat not only for Pakistan but the entire world.”

The former president’s request to the key US senator came a few days after Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz hinted at government’s plans to buy used F-16 fighter jets from Jordan after a deal to buy eight of the aircraft from the US stalled because the US Congress refused to finance the deal.

The US deal, valued at $699 million, was thrown into question after Congress refused to authorise using US government funds to help pay for the aircraft through a US-sponsored loan programme for military sales.

However, Mr Zardari urged the US government to review the decision for stronger relations between the two countries.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2016