F-16 aircraft controversy

WEB DESK: The government has raised the issue of F-16 aircraft and expressed its concern with the commander of US Central Command (Centcom) General Joseph Votel in a meeting held here on Monday.

Pakistan and the US shared their resolve to further enhance existing defence cooperation. This understanding was reached during a meeting of General Joseph L. Votel, Commander US Central Command and Lieutenant General Muhammad Alam Khattak (Retd), Secretary Defence. They exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and enhancing defence cooperation.

The Secretary Defence expressed concerns on the conditions attached with the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and stated that these aircraft are essential for fighting against terrorism. He further stated that the Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan are testament of Pakistan’s commitment in its fight against terrorism and extremism.

He said Pakistan highly values its relationship with the US which is spread over six decades and has seen progress in various areas including trade, economy, investment, energy, defence and people to people contacts.

It was discussed in the meeting that there is a need of further enhancement and diversification of defence relations by transcending from present confines of counter terrorism to the realm of conventional defence.

The Secretary also enquired about the status of a roadmap regarding future reimbursement mechanism in lieu of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) beyond 2016.

General Joseph L. Votel, the Commander US Central Command, acknowledged the role played by Pakistan’s armed forces in their fight against terrorism. He added that continued support from the US in training, equipment and necessary funding will act as tools essential to fight against terrorist outfits. – Business Recorder