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Pakistan raises F-16 issue with visiting US commander

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Islamabad : Pakistan has raised the unresolved issue of F-16 sale to Islamabad with General Joseph Votel, the visiting commander of US Central Command (Centcom).

Pakistan’s Defence Secretary Lt-General (Retd.) Muhammad Alam Khattak reiterated the need for F-16 jets and impressed upon the Centcom commander the jet’s utility in the war against terror, reports Dawn.

He also enquired about the status of roadmap regarding future reimbursement mechanism in lieu of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) beyond 2016.

Pakistan’s envoy to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani, meanwhile has intensified lobbying efforts trying and convincing the 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,” Dawn quoted Jilani as saying in Washington.

Pressing that multiple lobbies were working against Pakistani interests, he said the US administration has no objection on the supply of jets to Pakistan, but the Indian lobby at Capitol Hill was engaged in efforts to block the supply of the jets.

Washington and Islamabad reached a deal in which seven F-16 planes were to be sold to latter. In the deal, Pakistan was required to pay about $270m from its national funds and the US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.

Following the move, Pakistan conveyed the US that it did not have the money to buy F-16 jets from its resources and also cautioned that if the stalemate over funding was not resolved it could consider buying it from others. (ANI)

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