Pakistan rejects US conditionalities to sale of F-16s

Islamabad, May 7 (IANS) Pakistan needs modern F-16 fighter jets for the war against terrorism but rejects the conditions the US has attached with the sale, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said on Saturday.

Chaudhary said no conditions should be attached to the sale of F-16s because Pakistan plans to use the jets only for the purpose of fighting terrorists, Dawn online reported.

The US State Department earlier this week said Pakistan will have to pay from its own funds if it wants to buy F-16 fighter jets, after the US Congress last month withdrew funds for the deal to force Islamabad to act against the Haqqani network.

Chaudhry said diplomatic efforts were underway to convince the Congress to subsidise the sale of the fighter 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 $270 million from its national funds. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.

Pakistan has conveyed to the US that it does not have the money to buy F-16 jets from its resources and has cautioned if the stalemate over funding was not resolved it might consider buying some other fighter aircraft to meet its needs.

Among the key reasons behind the Congressional hold were concerns that Pakistan has not taken enough action against the Haqqani network; jail sentence for Shakeel Afridi — the physician who had cooperated with the US in tracking Osama bin Laden; and fears about Pakistani nuclear programme.

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