Fighter jet deal with US still on, says Pakistan

Islamabad, April 30 (IANS) The Pakistan Prime Minister’s special assistant on foreign affairs on Saturday stated that the F-16 fighter jet purchase deal with the US was still intact, reported local media.

Tariq Fatemi’s statement came amid reports that the US Congress had halted Pakistan’s aid for the purchase of F-16s: “It is the responsibility of the Obama Administration to persuade US Congress over the sale of F-16s to Pakistan,” he said.

Fatemi was optimistic that Pakistan’s aid will be released, saying that talks with the US administration in this regard were underway.

He went on to say that despite limited resources, Pakistan had spent $2 billion in operations against militants within a span of two years. The ongoing military operation was not only in the interest of Pakistan but also the US, Afghanistan and other regional countries, he added.

In a daily media briefing on Saturday the US confirmed that some members of the Congress had raised concerns over the aid for the purchase of F-16s to Pakistan.

US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said: “We believe the F-16s are helpful in Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, and they have been a part of the successful push back in past operations against the militant groups.”

However, Toner said, “Some members of Congress have stated their concerns about how to finance F-16s sale to Pakistan.” He said the Obama administration has no concerns over the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.

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