Still negotiating F-16 jet deal with US: Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan is still negotiating with the US to buy eight F-16 fighter jets despite difficulties in getting the USD 700 million deal partially financed by the American government, a top Pakistani official has said. The purchase hit snags after US Congress withheld 60 per cent of the aid earmarked for subsidising the deal, which has been opposed by some American lawmakers and India.

Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, responding to reports about the deadlock said the "negotiations aren't over yet". He said Pakistan's mission in Washington is currently in talks with members of the Congress to raise awareness of Islamabad's views on the matter.

"America understands how important a role these eight F-16s can play in the fight against terror, which is why the request was made in the first place," Fatemi was quoted as saying by BBC Radio.

According to the deal, Pakistan would have paid USD 270 million and the remaining USD 430 million was to come from the US.

"There is strong opposition to provide subsidised arms to other countries in the US Congress, but Obama administration's offer of military aid to Pakistan still stands," Fatemi said. Those opposing the deal argue that these jets can be used against India in the event of a war.

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