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No subsidy! US asks Pakistan to make full payment for F-16 jets

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

The United States has asked Pakistan to "put forward" its "national funds" to buy F-16 fighter jets as some American Senators have put a hold on the use of US tax payers' money to subsidise Pakistan's purchase.

"While Congress has approved the sale, key members have made it clear that they object to using FMF (Foreign Military Financing) to support it. Given Congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose," US state department spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters on 2 May.

Kirby, however, did not say when this decision was taken and communicated to Pakistan.

On 11 February, the state department had informed the Congress about its determination to sell eight fighter jets to Pakistan at an estimated cost of USD 700 million.

The move was opposed by the Indian government and it summoned the US ambassador to India, Richard Verma, to lodge its protest.

In the US, top American lawmakers led by Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put a hold on the sale arguing that it would not let the Obama administration use tax payers' money for the sale of fighter jets to Pakistan.

They also argued that Islamabad was not taking enough action against terrorist organisations, in particular against the Haqqani network, and that there continue to be terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.

Several Indian-American organisations also reached out to lawmakers expressing their concern over such a sale, which they argued is nothing but rewarding a bad actor.

Last week, top American lawmakers during a Congressional hearing openly told the Obama administration that they feared Pakistan would be using these F-16 fighter jets against India and not against terrorists.

However, the special representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Pakistan government insisted that the F-16 is an important tool in the fight against terrorism and urged Congress to remove the hold. The lawmakers stood their ground and told the Obama administration that it will not till the time Pakistan takes tangible action against the Haqqani network.


First published: 3 May 2016, 10:18 IST