Geneva: Baloch representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Union Mehran Marri on Sunday condemned the move by the United States Government to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying that Islamabad would use them against the Baloch population.
“We condemn the sale of any arms and ammunition to Pakistan Government and military, especially F16 with mountainous capabilities because they’re purely used against Baloch population,” said Mehran.
“It is a sad and black day in the history that more weapons of destruction have been sold to Pakistani military. During Bin Laden era, America and European Union heavily armed the Pakistan military to find Bin Laden and eliminate him. But we came to know that Bin Laden was sitting in their lap in Abbottabad,” he added.
Mehran also feared that Islamabad, which has been using the arms and ammunitions against the Baloch, would now use it against them again.
Taking a major step towards finalising the deal, the United States government on March 6 had formally issued a notification on the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
The notification estimates the total cost of the deal to be nearly USD 700 million.
However, India and some US lawmakers are questioning Washington’s move and that if such an arms transfer will help combat terrorism while claiming that the fighter jets will change the military balance in South Asia and will ultimately be used against India.
In a policy justification, posted on the Federal Register, the US administration rejected this assertion. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it argued, adding that the aircraft would improve “Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats”.
The administration also noted that the additional F-16 aircraft would facilitate operations in non-daylight environments and “enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations”.
However, Pakistan has conveyed to the United States that it needs the F-16 jets for counter-terrorist operations which would strengthen the country and promote regional stability.