US senator moves joint resolution to block sale of F-16s to Pakistan

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2016 00:21 IST
A Republican senator has introduced a joint resolution in senate opposing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. (File Photo)

Republican senator Rand Paul, who was a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination until recently, has introduced a joint resolution in senate opposing the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.

Paul joins a bipartisan position taken by leading members of the foreign relations committee of the US senate and the House of Representative in opposing the proposed sale.

“The US and Pakistani relationship has been a troubled one,” Paul said in a statement on his joint resolution, which he introduced in the senate on Wednesday.

He added: “Though the government of Pakistan has been considered America’s ally in the fight against terrorism, Pakistan’s behaviour would suggest otherwise. While we give them billions of dollars in aid, we are simultaneously aware of their intelligence and military apparatus assisting the Afghan Taliban.”

He went on to call Pakistan “duplicitous”, a word used frequently by US lawmakers for the country, and brought up its “support of terrorism and deplorable human rights record”.

The Obama administration announced its intention to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US last October.

Earlier this month, the US department of defence notified Congress, as is required for a deal of this size, of “this possible sale” that is estimated to cost $699.04 million.

India expressed “displeasure” over the proposed sale, the day after, and said it disagrees with Obama administration’s “rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism”.

As reported by HT before, four lawmakers — chairmen and ranking members of the foreign affairs committees of both chambers of congress — have said they will put a “hold” on the sale.

They will deny the administration money, therein, to finance the sale — subsidized through the Foreign Military Sale programme. Pakistan is free to buy them still, if they can pay for it.

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, called Pakistan “duplicitous” in a letter he sent to secretary of State John Kerry this month informing him of his intention to put a hold on the sale.

“I do not want US taxpayer dollars going to support these acquisitions,” Corker told The Wall Street Journal. “While we’re spending tremendous amounts of US dollars and certainly tremendous sacrifice in our men and women in uniform and by other agencies, they are working simultaneously to destabilise Afghanistan.”

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