UPDATE: 15:32 p.m. IST -- Pakistani prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday that Islamabad will acquire F-16s "from elsewhere" if the United States did not arrange funds for the sale.
Aziz also said that the F-16 fighter jets could be replaced by JF-17 Thunder jets, developed jointly by China's Aviation Industry Corporation of China and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, for its anti-terrorism campaign, according to Dawn.
The United States on Monday asked Pakistan to use its own resources to fund the purchase of eight Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets, citing objections to American funding of the deal by the U.S. Congress. 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, reports last week had cited U.S. State Department officials stating that the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations had objected to the use of American taxpayers' money to fund the deal. Several American lawmakers have criticised the Obama adminsitration's decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan, with some warning that Islamabad may use them against India and not to fight terrorism as intended.
"Given congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose," U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing on Monday.
Kirby did not answer questions on possible alternatives to give the F-16s to Pakistan, but said the State Department opposed conditions to the use of funds.
"As a matter of longstanding principle, the Department of State opposes conditions to the release of appropriated foreign assistance funds. So while Congress has approved the sale, key members have made clear that they object to using FMF to support it," Kirby said.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, who heads the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, had reportedly said he will not approve U.S. funds to be used for the deal, stating that Pakistan had to do more to fight terrorism.
Several Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed concern over the Obama adminsitration's decision to sell the F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, with some of them moving resolutions to block the sale.
"Many members of Congress, including me, seriously question the judgement and timing of such a sale. Additionally, Indo-Pak tensions remain elevated and some question whether the F-16s could ultimately be used against India or other regional powers, rather than the terrorists as Pakistan as asserted," Congressman Matt Salmon had said last week.