‘ US rewarding Pakistan with F-16 jets’

US-based Hindu advocacy group  made a satirical remark on Obama administration by saying the United States’ decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan will only amount to rewarding the country for its “bad behaviour”.

“The Obama administration announced the move, despite its own assessment that the Pakistani government, directly and by proxy, supports Islamist terror groups that target its neighbours, India and Afghanistan,” Hindu American Foundation (HAF) said yesterday in a statement.

“We vociferously oppose the Obama Administration’s decision to sell these sophisticated fighter jets to Pakistan,” said Samir Kalra, HAF senior director and Human Rights Fellow.

The outfit called upon the US Congress “to stand with the innumerable victims of terrorism” in the region and long-suffering religious minorities in Pakistan by opposing the deal.

“When Pakistani citizens continue to suffer rampant persecution and Pakistan’s military leadership refuses to abandon its use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, the sale of F-16s will only reward Pakistan for its bad behaviour,” Kalra said.

“American aid to Pakistan should focus on civilian assistance, democratisation, and human rights, and any military assistance must be conditioned on that country relinquishing its obsession with obtaining strategic depth against its neighbours,” said Jay Kansara, HAF director of government relations.

The Obama Administration said on February 13 it had decided to sell eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets worth nearly USD 700 million to Pakistan despite mounting opposition from influential lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

India summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey its “displeasure and disappointment” over the decision.

India disagreed with the US’ rationale that such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism and believes the US military aid to Pakistan goes into anti-India activities.

These additional F-16 aircraft will facilitate operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self- defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations, the Pentagon had said.

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