Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif

Defence Minister says US still committed to supply F-16 despite Indian ‘lobbying’

Islamabad: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday the United States is committed to supply eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan despite Indian efforts to block delivery.

“The Obama-led administration is committed to supply eight F-16 fighter jets despite efforts by India and former Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani to block the delivery,” Asif said while addressing the National Assembly.

The defence minister’s statement comes days after reports said the US Congress has “stalled” Obama administration’s planned sale of eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The move was stalled as lawmakers raised questions about the end use of the combat aircraft and the relationship between the two countries itself.

“Being aware of the importance of F-16 and JF-17 jets in Operation Zarb e Azb and other anti-terrorist operations, the US is committed to supply Pakistan with eight F-16 fighter jets,” the defence minister added.

In October, the Obama administration said it is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, an overture intended to bolster a tenuous partnership despite persistent concerns about Islamabad’s ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal.


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