US Congress ‘stalls’ sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

Published: January 12, 2016


The US Congress has “stalled” Obama administration’s planned sale of eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

In October, the Obama administration said it is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, an overture intended to bolster a tenuous partnership despite persistent concerns about Islamabad’s ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal.

However, the move has now been stalled as lawmakers raised questions about the end use of the combat aircraft and the relationship between the two countries itself.

US set to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

Several requests for clarification and information were made by members of the House of Representatives, effectively “stalling” the process, said a congressional source, according to the Hindustan Times.

At least one member of the Senate, a Democrat, has put a “hold” on the sale, a legislative process of a request to delay floor action on a measure, a bill, nomination or sale. In effect, the sale has been “stalled”, multiple congressional sources confirmed. They, however, clarified at the same time it does not mean the move has been “cancelled”.

The newspaper reported that lawmakers stalled the deal over several issues worrying them. At recent congressional hearings, key US lawmakers raised a host of questions about the end use of the F-16 aircraft, including whether it could or would be used against India, and about the US relationship with Pakistan.

F-16 jets US plans to sell to Pakistan will be used against India: Husain Haqqani

Lawmakers seemed troubled also by the overall signal the sale would send. “I’m concerned about the messages we’re sending when we continue to provide Pakistan security assistance despite Pakistan’s ongoing relationships with the Haqqani Network and LeT,” Eliot Engel, ranking member of the committee, had said.

Chairman Ed Royce used the phrase “Pakistan’s double-dealing” to question the continued flow of cash and arms.

US State Department approves Pakistan’s request for arms worth $1b

From here, there are two ways the proposed sale could proceed, sources said. One, the administration answers all the clarifications sought, and lawmakers let it go through. Two, the lawmakers refuse to allow the use of “foreign military financing”, forcing the administration to look for alternative funding if it still wants to go ahead with the deal.

This article originally appeared on The Hindustan Times.

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Reader Comments (47)

  • illpopo
    Jan 12, 2016 - 11:40AM

    Shouldn’t we stop begging for f-16s and relying on US? Go for some alternatives, since existing ones are being used against our own people & soil…!! Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jan 12, 2016 - 11:51AM

    As per recent claim of our Air Chief that our J17 Thunder is as good as F16, then why do we need F16 at all ? why not put the same money to upgrade our J17 & make it more lethal ? Recommend

  • Syed Abdul Samad
    Jan 12, 2016 - 11:53AM

    Please stop purchasing legendary F-16, go for Russian SU-35, Chinese Chengdu J-20 or if we can get EURO Fighter.Recommend

  • Tp
    Jan 12, 2016 - 12:05PM

    Sensible move by US Congress. Pak does not need F16s to fight terrorists. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jan 12, 2016 - 12:15PM

    Good! Our military budget is already bloated. Will only decrease in the wake of such sanctions.Recommend

  • citizen26
    Jan 12, 2016 - 12:33PM

    So US is now adopting India and becoming its guardian. Recommend

  • hari
    Jan 12, 2016 - 12:43PM

    @ishrat salim:
    Simply because it is not Pakistan’s money but US charity.Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2016 - 12:58PM

    Just because our pilots are trained for F-16 does not mean we have to stick with same old technology for decades. Spend on pilots training on new air crafts. Russian Technology has gained some momentum which was displayed in Syria recently. Their strikes were more accurate and lethal.

    Start investing in training of pilots with new jets.Recommend

  • zoro
    Jan 12, 2016 - 1:03PM

    Looks like India has already started working towards isolating Pakistan …
    First the sale of JF-17 to Sri Lanka now F-16’s ….Recommend

  • Certitude
    Jan 12, 2016 - 1:09PM

    Pakistan Zindabad!Recommend

  • shafi
    Jan 12, 2016 - 1:12PM

    we do not need to buy F16,this further our dependence on usa, we MUST go for j31, SU 35 aircraft nowRecommend

  • Uday
    Jan 12, 2016 - 1:21PM

    @Husain Shabbir:
    How can Russia forget Pakistan for their love and affection displayed in Afghanistan? They are just eagarly waiting for Pakistan to just ask so that they can deliver the entire fleet of Su35 planes.Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 12, 2016 - 2:23PM

    Very disappointing to say the least. How far will US go to protect and bolster India and impose it on the region. Poor decision and bad diplomacy. US should not hold Pakistan responsible if public opinion reacts against this manifest discrimination.

    A trillion $ lost in Afghanistan , millions killed in Iraq and now in Syria. How will US Congress justify the loss of lives and resources to its people and to world community.

    It looks Indian pseudo-scholars and intellectuals have taken hold of US foreign policy , Bad for US and its people, Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 12, 2016 - 2:32PM

    Our own man , Hussain Haqqani had testified against the deal. Thanks to Asif Ali Zardari and his advisors who made a person of such a doubtful loyalty Pakistan’s envoy in sensitive a place like Washington.

    Pakitan Govt. better focus on Washington and no just leave the situation to bureaucrats , with blue or red travel docs. Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 12, 2016 - 2:36PM

    @Uday: Nation states do not get carried away by emotions, self-interest is paramount. Pak relations with Russia are progressing on right trajectory. God willing they will grow. Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jan 12, 2016 - 4:58PM

    What alternatives? Russians are not going to give you anything when you are becoming part of the Saudi NATO.Recommend

  • Disgusting
    Jan 12, 2016 - 4:58PM

    This speaks volumes about Asif Zardari’s loyalties to the country.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Jan 12, 2016 - 5:08PM

    look at the bright side
    we ll get wheat in 2030. thanks God we are non NATO allyRecommend

  • Zen
    Jan 12, 2016 - 5:10PM

    Till last year, Pakistanis used to taunt India for buying Russian ‘flying coffins’. Why this sudden change?Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:08PM

    I hardly ever agree with the Republican dominated Congress but this would be one occasion when I do.Recommend

  • Prada
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:10PM

    @ishrat salim: “As per recent claim of our Air Chief that our J17 Thunder is as good as F16, then why do we need F16 at all ?”
    The answer lies in your question.Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2016 - 6:25PM

    Please stop it. We do not need US fighters. Pakistan should concentrate building its own fighter planes. J-10 is much better plane than f-16 which Pakistan can buy from china. Even Russian is willing to sell Pakistan Sukhoi 35, which is 4++ generation fighter aircraft.Recommend

  • cautious
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:37PM

    @Husain Shabbir:

    Spend on pilots training on new air
    crafts. Russian Technology has gained
    some momentum which was displayed in
    Syria recently

    As I recall a Turkish F-16 shot down one of those Russian Technology bombers your referring to.Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2016 - 6:43PM

    Pakistan does not need F-16 periodRecommend

  • Tyggar
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:44PM

    What alternatives? Russians are not going to give you anything when you are becoming part of the Saudi NATO.

    Pakistan is being torn between ideological master Saudi and Financial master China. Let’s see if Ideology wins or moneyRecommend

  • curious2
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:49PM

    @Husain Shabbir: As I recall an F-16 owned by Turkey shot down one of those “high tech” Russian bombers your promoting. Also – those Russian bombers are considered obsolete by many.Recommend

  • Vicky
    Jan 12, 2016 - 7:01PM

    @Husain shabir @NHA…..
    Russia, USA, France or other big players will not dare to lose 2.6 trillion GDP nation on 250 billion GDP nation….
    so please concentrate on your only option chinaRecommend

  • SG
    Jan 12, 2016 - 8:09PM

    This article originally appeared on The Hindustan Times. Interestingly, even the story about American fighters jets sale to Pakistan, has been sourced from an Indian newspaper.Recommend

  • Azmat Ali
    Jan 12, 2016 - 8:10PM

    Thank you Mr. Hussain Haqqani!Recommend

  • Azmat Ali
    Jan 12, 2016 - 8:12PM

    @Husain Shabbir:
    Russia was more effective in Syria, not because of their technological advancement compared to the US / allies, but because they wanted to be effective. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jan 12, 2016 - 8:37PM

    Pakistan is giving away Gwadar port to China, raising a special commando force and a special marine force to protect Chinese marines and troops who will come to Pakistan disguised as staff working on CPEC projects. So, Pakistan is facilitating China to challenge US fleet in the region. Why should US give sophisticated equipment to Pakistan which it will use to strengthen China or will use it itself against US forces in the region. No doubt, Pakistan will also use it against India also. Recommend

  • curious2
    Jan 12, 2016 - 10:04PM

    “I’m concerned about the messages we’re sending when we continue to provide Pakistan security assistance despite Pakistan’s ongoing relationships with the Haqqani Network and LeT,”
    That’s the core issue that nobody wants to admit – it creates the image of a duplicitous country that shouldn’t be sold high tech weapons that might one day be used against the USA or it’s allies. It maybe more convenient to blame Indian lobby – but like the Israeli lobby it’s overrated and minuscule compared to the political clout of the Defense Industry.Recommend

  • curious2
    Jan 12, 2016 - 10:54PM

    @Raj – USA: USA and China have no competing interest in the Middle East – both want free passage of oil – neither wants a war between Arabs/Iran …. so what does China gain by “challenging” US fleet? Also – why does China want to spend money on maintaining a Chinese Fleet in Gwadar when it gets the USA to protect free passage of oil for free?Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 12, 2016 - 10:56PM

    @Raj – USA:

    Looks it is your full-time job to look for justifications. Notwithstanding, you will hear very soon that Pakistan received the very same F-16s. Pak-US militaries have mature relationships and Pak has no conflict with US.

    As for India, yes be sure if you do some mischief , you will get the slap on face. F-16 or no F-16. Note down in diary. Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jan 13, 2016 - 12:07AM

    As I recall an F-16 owned by Turkey shot down one of those “high tech” Russian bombers your promoting.

    Can you please do yourself a favor and understand the difference between a bomber and a fighter?Recommend

  • Politically Incorrect
    Jan 13, 2016 - 12:46AM

    @NHA: Forget about slap, currently you have an egg on your face. How many sugar daddy’s does your country need? US, Saudi, China etc? When will you learn to be a truly independent country. Please check your diary & let us know the date? Recommend

  • Raheel
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:36AM

    Great.Saved a billion dollars.Recommend

  • Sandip
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:49AM

    @ishrat salim: Because the man who said that knows how big a blunder it is. Hence he is not willing to take a gamble that come the time to thunder, the blunder will not chicken out.Recommend

  • Another Pakistani
    Jan 13, 2016 - 10:32AM

    F-16s are downright beautiful but time to move on.we should be looking at su-35 and j-20 now.Recommend

  • Indo
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:19PM

    @Another Pakistani:
    Russia partners india in many defence project & a indian ally, they will cancel pakistan request for s-35 without even considering on it Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jan 13, 2016 - 3:03PM

    This is not offered by Pakistan but Russia, be aware……
    “Russia partners india in many defence project & a indian ally” as USA was partner of Pakistan in many projects. If India can go to USA Pakistan can do also to for Russia.
    Don’t worry just chill…Recommend

  • AK
    Jan 13, 2016 - 5:52PM

    It was USA Government who offered F-16s to Pakistan and now Congress have stopped.
    Good way of getting publicity and show the world that they are very powerful.Recommend

  • Indo
    Jan 13, 2016 - 6:40PM

    No S-35 is offered to pakistan by russia, look at india’s economy and defence order to russia by india, may be more than pakistan total defence budget, simple mathematics to funk your chillRecommend

  • Indo
    Jan 13, 2016 - 7:20PM

    No S-35 offered to pakistan by russia, russia will not partner pakistan at india’s cost, may be defence order to russia by india are more than total pakistan defence budget simple mathematics, look at india’s economy and it seems from cancellation of f-16 to pakistan that india got good lobby their at washingtonRecommend

  • NHA
    Jan 13, 2016 - 10:05PM


    There lies the problem. Small mindedness. THis has kept India down for over 70 decades now.

    In meantime, Pak which had started from scratch , has acquired nuclear capability, multiple delivery systems, substantive defense production capacity, a fairly trained human resource, nice living standard for its people, and balanced foriegn policy and means to sustain it. Very soon it will acquire ‘center of gravity’ in the region and beyond.

    India should have been like US to Canada, Indonesia to Malaysia & others, etc. India’s efforts to acquire neghboring countris has destroyed it as well hurt the others. Think what India has done -lead Afghans to oppose Pak, terrorise Sri Lanka, bully Nepal. I think this is enough food for thought , if have India an iota of thinking power left and nor consumed by hatred and jealousy . Recommend

  • Gulzar
    Jan 14, 2016 - 2:55AM

    India is the biggest terrorist country which US know very well but US only care about its own benefit nothing to do with humanity that’s why Kashmir issue is still not resolved. Recommend

  • Indo
    Jan 15, 2016 - 8:18PM

    Are you out of your mindRecommend

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