US lawmakers move resolution to suspend sale of F-16s’ to Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 10:22 am ICT by admin  

In a resolution, Senator Joe Biden, a presidential candidate and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator John Kerry urged a careful review of US military assistance to Pakistan after Musharraf declared a state of emergency on November 4.

US assistance for the purchase of certain weapons systems not directly related to the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban should be suspended if Musharraf does not revoke the emergency and restore the Constitution, they said.

They also demanded Musharraf to relinquish his position as Chief of the Army, and allow for free and fair elections to be held in accordance with the announced timeframe.

“I made clear to Musharraf that some of the big ticket weapons items that are not designed to combat the Taliban or al Qaeda are on the table — the F-16s and the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft,” Biden told reporters.

“I do believe that he got the message,” he further said. He did not say when he talked to Musharraf.

The US has agreed to sell up to 36 new F-16 fighter jets together with refurbished F-16s to Pakistan, which has received 10 billion dollars in aid since it agreed to join the US war on terror after the 9/11 attacks, The Nation reported.

Earlier, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that Negroponte had “made the point that we have real national interests specifically in working with Pakistan to fight terror. We’re not going to do anything that makes America less safe.”

In response to another question about Biden’s demand to suspend the sale of F-16s and if the administration considered them part of the war on terror, McCormack declined “to comment on any particular aspect of our aid programme or our military relationship with Pakistan”.

The US State Department and US Agency for International Development have made a congressional budget request of 845 million dollars for assistance to Pakistan in fiscal year 2008. This includes a supplemental request of 60 million dollars. (ANI)

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