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US committed to provide 8 F-16s despite Indian hurdles: Pakistan

US committed to provide 8 F-16s despite Indian hurdles: Pakistan

Islamabad, Jan 19 (PTI) The US was committed to supply eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan despite India's efforts to block its delivery, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said today.

"The (Barack) Obama administration is committed to supply eight F-16 fighter jets despite efforts by India and former Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani to block the delivery," Asif said.

His statement comes days after reports said that the Republican-controlled US Congress has stalled sale of F-16 jets to Islamabad, amid growing anti-Pakistan sentiments on Capitol Hill over its reluctance in taking action against terrorist groups.

Pakistani lawmakers in the National Assembly during a debate assailed US Congress for stalling the sale of the jet, prompting the minister to intervene.

Asif did not clarify how India and Haqqani, who was Pakistan's ambassador during government of Asif Ali Zardari, were influencing the decision of US Congress.

Haqqani was hated by military and was removed after memo-gate scandal, related to memo he wrote to US government against army.

Pakistan has sought the F-16 jets which are backbone of its air force and are also being used for operations against the militants.

The Obama administration in October said it is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Pakistan and the US have had a tenuous relationship but Islamabad has been successful to get US military hardware despite tensions and concerns about its commitment in fighting militancy.