Pakistan rues 'downward slide' with US over F-16s

Pak PM's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz candidly admitted the country's ties with the US have been under stress since the last three months over the F-16 fighter jet deal

Islamabad: Pakistan's ties with the US have witnessed a "downward slide", amid a row over a decision by the Congress to block the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to the country, Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said.

Sartaj Aziz
Sartaj Aziz

Briefing the Senate, Aziz candidly admitted that Pakistan-US ties were under stress for the past three months over the F-16 issue but the two were working to resolve it.

"In the past three months, however, the upward trajectory in relations has witnessed a downward slide, as reflected in a decision of the US Congress to block partial funding for eight F-16 aircrafts," Aziz said on Thursday during a debate on the US' decision to withdraw a proposed subsidy on the sale of F-16s.

Weapons of contention: The F-16 fighter jets. Pics/AFP
Weapons of contention: The F-16 fighter jets. Pics/AFP

Aziz also mentioned the 'India factor' for at least three times during his speech.

"The Indian lobby has been making untiring efforts to reverse the US decision, and a strong attempt, through Senator Rand Paul's resolution, to block the sale itself." Later, he said, "The Indian lobby in the US has also been highly pro-active in adding fuel to the fire, specially after the Pathankot incident on January 1, 2016."

Aziz said US-Pakistan ties have seen an "upward trajectory" since 2013, and that Pakistan was working to sort out its differences.

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