US Congressman Opposes F-16s Sale to Pakistan
(Source: DDI Indian government news; issued July 20, 2006)
Congressman Eliot Engel, Democrat from New York, while appreciating Pakistan's condemnation of last week's Mumbai blasts, criticised its support to terrorist groups opposed to India.

''Unless the government of Pakistan reforms, it is far too soon to proceed with any sale of F-16s,'' he said at a press conference.

He said ''Pakistan has not moved forward with promises of democracy, fighting its internal extremists, or enforcing human rights. Pakistan also has a history of diverting technology to rogue states, and has still not let the US interrogators question Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani former head of an international nuclear black market.

''Pakistan should not count on my support for the sale of F-16s. Under no circumstances should the United States give Pakistan a blank check,'' he added.

Mr Engel was one of the first Members of Congress to come out in favour of the proposed India-US nuclear energy deal.

As a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, Mr Engel will express deep concerns about the Administration's proposed Pakistan weapons deal at today's House International Relations Committee hearing on the sale of F16s to Pakistan.

The Bush administration has decided to give Pakistan a 5 billion dollar weapons deal, including the sale of 18 new F-16 fighter jets, saying that it is a part of a ''larger effort to broaden its strategic ties with Pakistan.''

According to State Department sources, the five-billion-dollar package to Pakistan includes an option to purchase 18 F-16 fighter jets, an offer to modernise 26 used aircraft already in Pakistan's arsenal, as well as logistical and other support. The notification was quietly sent to Congress for approval on 28th June.

Earlier condemning the Mumbai blasts, Mr Engel said ''We stand with India during this dark hour.''

He said '' India and the United States are the largest and oldest democracies in the world, but, tragically, we are also targets of the world's most deadly terrorists.''

He extended his deepest sympathy to the people of India and wanted them to know that they have our support as they rebuild, recover, and take steps to prevent future acts of terrorism.

''Although the investigation is still on, I understand that India has said it suspects that a Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group carried out the bombings that left nearly 200 people dead,'' he added.


prev next

Breaking News from AFP See all

Official reports See all