The Pakistani Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz admitted that relations between Islamabad and the United States were on a downward trend in recent months, while also accusing India of attempting to block the F-16 sale.
Aziz's statement comes days after the U.S. said it will not fund the purchase of eight Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets by Pakistan, asking Islamabad to use its own resources. On Thursday, Aziz was responding to an adjournment motion in the upper house of Parliament on the U.S. decision to withdraw funds for the F-16 deal.
While pointing out that U.S.-Pakistan relations had taken an "upward trajectory" since 2013, Aziz said the trend had changed due to recent events.
"In the past three months, however, this upward trajectory in relations has witnessed a downward slide, as reflected in a decision of the US Congress to block partial funding for eight F-16 aircraft," he said, according to Dawn.
The U.S. has repeatedly expressed concerns about Pakistan's nuclear ambitions, and has also accused it of becoming a terror haven.
"We have also rejected frequent demands, especially by the US Congress, for the release of Dr Shakil Afridi. The US officials, Congress, think-tanks and media, in tandem with our adversaries, have also been blaming Pakistan for supporting the Haqqani network without giving any concrete evidence to enable us to take additional action against it or other terrorist organisations," Aziz said, while referring to the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track and kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Aziz said the "Indian lobby in the U.S." had been attempting to further strain ties and block the fighter-jets sale, especially as Indo-Pak relations deteriorated after the Pathankot terror attack in January.
"The Indian lobby has been making untiring efforts to reverse the US decision, and a strong attempt, through Senator Rand Paul's resolution, to block the sale itself," Aziz reportedly said.
Several American lawmakers had raised concerns over the Obama adminsitration's decision to sell the fighter jets to Pakistan, claiming that the country would likely use them against regional rival India instead of fighting terrorists.
The U.S. had earlier proposed to provide $430 million for the deal, while Islamabad was to pay $270 million for the purchase of the fighter jets. However, Islamabad has now been left alone to find funds to make the purchase.
Earlier this month, Aziz had said that the F-16 fighter jets could be replaced by JF-17 Thunder jets, which have been developed jointly by China's Aviation Industry Corporation of China and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, according to Dawn.