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Friday, July 19, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

F-16 jets sale: US counts on Pakistan’s action against terrorist groups

State Department says proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet threats
The US State Department spokesperson described Pakistan as an “important partner” in a number of regards, an important counterterrorism partner. Reuters/File
The US State Department spokesperson described Pakistan as an “important partner” in a number of regards, an important counterterrorism partner. Reuters/File

The United States administration has said the foreign military sales to Pakistan worth $450 million to upgrade F-16 jets would support the latter’s counterterrorism operations.

“And we expect Pakistan will take sustained action against all terrorist groups,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The US government notified Congress of a proposed foreign military sale to Pakistan last week for maintenance and sustainment services for the Pakistani Air Force’s F-16 programme.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which delivered the required certification, said that it does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.

Included are US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics services for follow-on support of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet to include:

  • Participation in F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program
  • Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program
  • International Engine Management Program
  • Engine Component Improvement Program, and other technical coordination groups
  • Aircraft and engine hardware and software modifications and support
  • Aircraft and engine spare repair/return parts
  • Accessories and support equipment
  • Classified and unclassified software and software support
  • Publications, manuals, and technical documentation
  • Precision measurement, calibration, lab equipment, and technical support services
  • Studies and surveys
  • Other related elements of aircraft maintenance and program support

“Pakistan’s F-16 program, it’s an important part of the broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship, and this proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining the F-16 fleet,” Price said.

The US State Department spokesperson described Pakistan as an “important partner” in a number of regards, an important counterterrorism partner. “And as part of our longstanding policy, we provide life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms.”

More aid to come from US

While speaking on Pakistan’s flood situation, Price quoted the White House press briefing by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. He said that the US was “deeply saddened” by the devastation and by the loss of life throughout Pakistan that such historic floods have caused.

“We stand with the people of Pakistan at this difficult time.”

As of September 12, earlier this week, a total of nine US Central Command flights delivered more than half of the 630 metric tons of relief supplies from USAID’s Dubai warehouse for the response to the massive floods. “In total, CENTCOM would airlift more than 41,000 kitchen sets, 1,500 rolls of plastic sheeting, tens of thousands of plastic tarps, 8,700 shelter fixing kits – all in support of USAID’s flood relief.”

In this fiscal year, the US administration has provided more than $53 million in humanitarian assistance, including urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multipurpose cash, safe drinking water, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, as well as shelter assistance. “We’re going to continue to work very closely with our Pakistani partners to continue to assess the damage that has been wrought by these floods, and we’ll continue to provide assistance to our partners in this time of need.”

Free press

He also answered a query related to the ban on ARY News transmission and the subsequent arrest of its head of news.

“I believe we discussed this before, but we are – we continue to be concerned by significant restrictions on media outlets and civil society in Pakistan. I know that your outlet, ARY, has not been immune to this constricted space,” he said, adding that the US administration raise its concerns about press freedom to all stakeholders around the world, including to its partners and counterparts in Pakistan.

Price said that they were concerned about media and content restrictions and lack of accountability for attacks against journalists. He was of the view that it undermines the exercise of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“A free press and informed citizenry we believe are key to democratic societies around the world, the key to our democratic future. That applies equally to Pakistan as it does to other countries around the world.”

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Pakistan

white house

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Ned Price

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f-16 jets

Karine Jean-Pierre