Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday warned that it will scrap its F-16 deal with the US and buy fighter jets from other countries if the latter failed to subsidise the sale as agreed.
The threat came amid reports that the US State Department has expressed its inability to provide part of the funds for the USD 700 million deal. The department has stated that it would not be able to pass on American tax payers' money to fund the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.
Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to Pakistani prime minister on foreign affairs, said his country may be forced to look at other suppliers if the funds are blocked.
"Pakistan will buy F-16s from some other country if funding (from the US) is not arranged," Aziz said.
The two nations had earlier agreed on USD 700 million deal under which Pakistan was to pay USD 270 million from its national funds to purchase eight F-16s while the US was supposed to finance the rest of the amount from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.
But the US Congress has refused to approve the funding, leaving the deal in limbo, as cash-starved Pakistan may not be able to make the entire payment.
As per PTI, Aziz said F-16s were an effective tool to fight militancy and it can be replaced by JF-17 Thunder jets, locally produced.
He also expressed concern over the growing military prowess of India and said if it isn't checked, Pakistan will be "forced to increase its strategic power" too.
"The international community should avoid steps which may disturb the strategic balance in South Asia," he said.