Pak envoy to US hails Senate vote rejecting blocking of F-16 fighter sale

Washington, Mar. 12 (ANI): Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani has hailed the U.S. Senate vote that rejected a measure to block the sale of eight F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan.

“We appreciate the leadership of the U.S. Congress in consistently supporting the Pak-U.S. counter-terrorism partnership. The vote is a demonstration of the strength and resilience of Pak-U.S. relationship,” the Dawn quoted Jilani, as saying.

The U.S. State Department had notified the U.S. Congress of its intention to sell weapons worth 700 million dollars to Pakistan, which included the eight F-16s.

According to reports, the department argued that the jets were critical to Pakistan’s efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven within its borders.

The U.S. Congress had 30 days to object to the move and once this mandatory period to question the need for the deal had passed, it would automatically become effective.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday had rejected a measure to block the proposed sale by 71 to 24 votes. But Pakistan will have to overcome another hurdle before the deal is finalised which is getting U.S. financing, a little over 50 percent for the weapons.

The mandatory period expires today. The Senate adjourned on Friday and will resume only on Monday, which leaves no room for blocking the deal.

U.S. President Barrack Obama’s administration has earmarked 860 million dollars for Pakistan for the next fiscal year which included 265 million dollars for military hardware.(ANI)

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