US ties not to be seen ‘through the prism’ of F-16 deal: Pakistan

dc-Cover-qkud063romhu4ef1rpjkjiub12-20160701081307.MediPakistan’s ties with the US strained after the US Congress slapped restrictions on financing of the F-16s through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme, due to which Pakistan could not buy the fighter jets.

Islamabad:  Putting up a brave face after the F-16 deal was scuttled, Pakistan on Thursday said its ties with the US should not be looked only “through the prism” of that sale and hinted that its hopes were still alive with regard to getting the fighters.

“I have said earlier that don’t just look at Pakistan-US relations through the prism of this sale, the relationship is much broader. And, in diplomacy we never say doors are closed,” the spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Office said.

“US Senator John McCain will be visiting Pakistan soon to meet top leadership,” he said. The spokesperson asserted that the purpose of acquiring the eight F-16s from the US was “to help Pakistan in its counter-terrorism efforts.”

“Terrorism is not just Pakistan’s problem but a global issue, which requires a cooperative approach. The purpose was to enhance Pakistan’s precision strike capability,” he said.

Pakistan’s ties with the US strained after the US Congress slapped restrictions on financing of the F-16s through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme, due to which Pakistan could not buy the fighter jets.

The F-16 deal was put on hold after the US asked Pakistan to foot the bill for the jets. Under an initial financing arrangement, the US was to pay about USD 430 million for the eight jets worth USD 699 million from FMF funds, while the remaining cost was to be borne by Pakistan.

“The initial stage was the decision to give F-16s to Pakistan that was taken in favour of Pakistan. The second issue was about financial arrangements and this is where we had some issues with the US side,” the spokesperson said.

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