WASHINGTON: The United States (US) administration is withholding funds earmarked for Pakistan’s purchase of eight F-16 fighter jets, BBC Urdu reported, citing an unnamed senior US State Department official.
The State Department official told BBC Urdu on condition of anonymity that the Obama administration is still willing to sell the fighter jets to Pakistan, but will not contribute US funds towards the deal.
The US administration took this step with directions from US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker because only Congress has the authority to dispense or withhold the funds, the official said.
As a result of this move, Pakistan may have to foot the bill of $700 million for the eight fighter jets.
As per the earlier arrangement, Pakistan would have paid $270 million while the US would grant the remaining $430 million for the purchase.
The $742 million earmarked for American military aid to Pakistan in the 2016-2017 budget has also been put on hold, but may be released if Congress changes its mind, the State Department official said, adding that the Obama administration is working with Congress in this regard.
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