Washington: Pakistan on Thursday said the F-16 jets provide precision strike capability to its on-going campaign against terrorism, a day after top American lawmakers expressed concern over the decision to sell eight fighter jets to Pakistan, saying the aircraft could be used against India.
"F-16s provide precision strike capability to Pakistan's on-going campaign against militancy and have proven to be an effective platform during Operation Zarb-e-Azb," Pakistan's Embassy in Washington said in a statement in response to concerns raised by several US lawmakers on Wednesday on the potential use of F-16 against India and its utility in the fight against terrorism.
"The US Administration has stated it supports the sale of F-16s to Pakistan. This is in line with bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation that both sides have pursued in mutual benefit," the statement said.
"Pakistan believes that threat from terrorist networks requires continued capacity building and both governments continue to work together towards this objective through a range of measures including sale of these air crafts," it said.
During a Congressional hearing at the Capitol Hill on Wednesday, top US lawmakers expressed concerns over Barack Obama administration's decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying the aircraft could be used against India rather than combating terrorism.
They also urged the Obama administration to review its decision in this regard.
The US Senate has currently put a hold on the decision to give eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan at an estimated cost of USD 700 million.
During the Congressional hearing Congressman Matt Salmon said, "Many members of Congress, including me, seriously question the judgement and timing of such a sale. Additionally, Indo-Pak tensions remain elevated and some question whether the F-16s could ultimately be used against India or other regional powers, rather than the terrorists as Pakistan as asserted."
Another Congressman Brad Sherman said, "We have got to be concerned what military assistance and whether the F-16s constitute the least expensive, most efficient way for the Pakistani air force to go after the terrorists and the least disruptive weapon system to the balance of power between India and Pakistan."