A potential sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan is being delayed in the Republican-held Congress, which could lead to diplomatic clashes between Washington and Islamabad. While the initial deal was approved by the foreign-military-sales arm of the Pentagon and the White House last year, pro-Indian U.S. representatives are alleged to have spearheaded a campaign to stop the sale, fearing that the jets could be used against civilians.
“Congress is well aware of the fact that it is gravely discommoding Pakistan, but has no qualms about that,” Brian Coughley, the former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, told Defense News Tuesday. “The arrangement for supply of the eight aircraft, as proposed, however, is not dead, but it will require a great deal of work by the administration to revive it — and the White House might not be keen on that.”
It was previously reported by the English-language newspaper Dawn Tuesday that Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., had questioned what Pakistan would need the F-16s for, suggesting that they could be used against civilians.
“I don’t know how an F-16, with all of its hardware on there for combat, can be used for humanitarian aid. If they were buying C-130s, I could see those being used for humanitarian aid,” said Poe, whose comments were echoed by Rohrabacher, who said Pakistan would use the military hardware against “their own people.”
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