The United States has reportedly told Pakistan to fund over $700 million for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets itself, days after the US congress blocked the funds to purchase the jets for Pakistan.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby has said the congressional opposition meant funds from the US government’s Foreign Military Financing allocation could not be used to purchase the aircraft.
“Given congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose,” he told a regular news briefing.
Kirby further added that the State Department opposed putting conditions on the use of such funds and believed that effective engagement with Pakistan, including by supporting its counter-terrorism effort, was “critical” to promoting democracy and economic stability in the country.
US congress refused to to approve funding for the deal days after the US lawmakers had accused Pakistan of not doing enough to fight militants and objection by India for the sell of the jets.
The decision by the US congress means that Pakistan will have to pay more than $700m (£480m) – two-and-a-half times the original cost of the fighter jets.
According to the original arrangement, Pakistan was supposed to pay close to $270m, with the US foreign military financing budget paying for the rest. -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES