United States to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The deal came despite persistent concerns about Islamabad's ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal. According to a report in The New York Times, the Congress was notified just days ago about the proposed sale of the additional fighter jets, although it is not clear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft during Mr Sharif's trip. Nawaz Sharif landed in the US on October 20 on a state visit, and is scheduled to meet President Obama today. The new aircrafts would add to Pakistan 's sizable force of fighter jets, which includes more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft, it said. US handed over to Pakistan over 14 combat aircraft, 59 military trainer jets and 374 armoured personnel carriers. The weapons supplied to Pakistan were earlier used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many in the US Congress are concerned that the F-16 jets are more useful to Pakistan in its long confrontation with India than for counter-terrorism operations. It is not certain whether the Congress will approve the deal. According to the report, the Congress and the US State Department are already in a standoff over an effort to sell used Navy cutter vessels to Pakistan earlier this year. In March, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs put a hold on about USD 150 million in foreign military financing.