US Senate’s attitude on F-16 deal ‘not appropriate’, says Rashid

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Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the attitude of United States Senate Committee regarding the sale of F-16 fighter jets is “not appropriate” and it is creating more trouble for Obama administration.

US should realise that Pakistan is fighting their war against terrorism to ensure peace in the world, he said on Friday during a programme aired on Radio Pakistan.

Senator Nehal Hashmi, defence analyst Air Marshal (r) Shahid Latif and other senior experts also expressed their views in the programme.

Rashid said the United States agreed to give subsidy on the purchase of F-16s, but it has backed out of the agreement because of Congress’ pressure.

“Pakistan is sacrificing lives of its citizens and suffering economic losses for the global peace.”

The F-16 fighter jets are playing a vital role in continuing war against terrorism, he added.

Shahid Latif said Pakistan should look for other options other than the United States to strengthen its defence.

“We already have developed JF-17 Thunder with the support of China and these are reliable and affordable jets which are becoming backbone of our air force.”

Defense analyst Lt Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib said Pakistan was interested in purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the United States because our pilots are familiar with the aircraft.

However, our pilots are very competent and capable to operate all kinds of fighter jets.

“US Congress is under the strong influence of Indian lobby. Therefore, we should not depend on United States.”

Senator Nehal Hashmi said the government will try to mature the F-16 deal till the last moment.

Washington is aware of this fact that Pakistan is not its colony. We can purchase fighter jets from other countries as well, the Senator maintained.

Pakistan will consult with other suppliers of F-16s regarding the alternatives of financing, he added.