Pakistan’s defence secretary has expressed concern with a US commander over the delay in the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
Last month, the US Congress had blocked a move by Washington to subsidise Pakistan’s purchase of eight Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-16s.
In response, Pakistan indicated it may buy the aircraft from somewhere else if financing for the state-of-the-art planes was not arranged by the US.
In his meeting with Commander US Central Command General Joseph L Votel in Rawalpindi on Monday, Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Alam Khattak said the aircraft was essential for Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.
He said the operation Zarb-e-Azab and National Action Plan were the testaments of Pakistan’s commitment in its fight against terrorism and extremism, according to a statement released by the Defence Ministry.
Both the countries shared resolve to enhance existing defence cooperation among the two nations.
Khattak said “Pakistan highly values its relationship with the US, which is spread over six decades and has seen progress in various areas including trade, economy, investment, energy, defence and people to people contact.”
The defence secretary also discussed about the status of roadmap regarding future reimbursement mechanism in lieu of Coalition Support Fund beyond 2016.
General Joseph acknowledged the role played by the Pakistan’s armed forces in their fight against terrorism.
“Continued support from US in training, equipment and necessary funding will act as tools essential to fight against terrorist outfits,” he added.
Votel is a four-star General in the United States Army and has recently assumed the command of United States Central Command. He has also served as commander of United States Special Operations Command.
Meanwhile, Army chief General Raheel discussed Afghanistan’s security with General Votel, who called on the former at the GHQ.
According to the ISPR, the two leaders also discussed matters of mutual and professional interests, with the visiting dignitary lauding the role of Pakistan Army for bringing peace and stability in the region.
Diplomatic efforts intensified:
Pakistan’s ambassador to US, Jalil Abbas Jilani, has also intensified lobbying efforts at Capitol Hill to try and convince US Congress to release funds for the purchase of F-16 jets.
“I am holding frequent meetings with congressmen to convince them that these jets would only be used in the ongoing war against terrorism”, Ambassador Jilani told a news channel from Washington.
The ambassador lamented that multiple lobbies are working against Pakistani interests, and it is difficult to counter them with meager resources.
Ambassador Jilani added in principle the US administration has no objection on the supply of jets to Pakistan, but the Indian lobby at capitol hill is engaged in efforts to block the supply of these jets.
Pakistan had earlier reached an understanding with the US for buying eight F-16 planes. Under the deal, Pakistan was required to pay about $270m from its national funds. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.
Among the key reasons behind the Congressional hold are concerns that Pakistan has not taken enough action against the Haqqani network; jail sentence for Dr Shakeel Afridi — the physician who had cooperated with the US in tracking Osama bin Laden; and fears about Pakistani nuclear programme.
This u turn of US to make hurdals in supply of F16 fighter jet means that they had fear that Pakistan will use againt India It is lobbing of Indian lobby in US.Although Pakistan has already told US administration that it is need of Pakistan to fight against terror groups.
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