Pakistan

F-16 deal not a feasible offer now, says US

F16

WASHINGTON: The F-16 deal (a US offer to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan) seems to be slipping away from Pakistan’s hand as a US State Department official has hinted that the deal was no longer possible.

This has been revealed by the US State Department official David Ranz during a Capitol Hill meeting on Thursday.

“Forever is a long time but the term of the offer has expired. So for now it is not a viable offer,” said Ranz.

He said the deal expired on May 24 as Congress did not approve the Obama administration’s plea to use US funds for subsidising the deal, adding it made ‘a significant portion’ of the military help to Pakistan ‘conditional to taking action against the Haqqani network’.

Pakistan has been getting a billion dollars from the US Coalition Support Fund as reimbursement for its efforts to combat terrorism.

“We are committed to this important relationship with Pakistan. We are committed to getting through the challenges, and to building a stronger relationship,” Ranz said.

However, the Pakistan Embassy spokesman Ubaidur Rehman Nizami has urged members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (formed in 2015 between Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and the US, seeking a settlement to the Afghan dispute) to consider the consequences of the May 21 strike that killed Mullah Mansour.

Ranz acknowledged that the US had concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear programme and about terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The Capitol Hill meeting was organised by the Pakistani American Congress, which holds this annual event to present Pakistan’s case before US lawmakers.

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