Can Pakistan’s F-16s fight terror?

Religiously motivated terrorism threatens Pakis­tan’s existence. We have entered a state of permanent conflict where victory may not be possible even in 100 years. Drones or F-16s are not a solution.

By PERVEZ HOODBHOY

Pakistan says it desperately wants Lockheed-Martin Block-V F-16 fighter-bombers at $87 million apiece for fighting terrorists in tribal badlands such as North Waziristan. An order for eight jets has already been placed. The US Senate is sympathetic; a move to ban the sale was massively rejected by majority vote. Lockheed-Martin, which peddles its deadly wares to all who can pay, has already sold 4,500 F-16s to 25 countries. It must be pleased at this small, but tidy, deal of $700m.

But thoughtful Pakistanis should be worried. Wag­ing an aerial war against your own population is not a good idea. Even if you have to, shouldn’t much cheaper weaponised drones be preferred over advanced fighter aircraft whose real job is to shoot down other planes? A drone, technically known as UAV, is far more precise than any fighter because it can loiter undetected over a target, capture and collect information better, and reduce — though never eliminate — damage to innocents. India is currently negotiating with the US for buying 40 Predator drones.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1252330/

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