November 28, 2005Foreign Affairs

What was that about Pakistan deferring its F-16 purchase?

Musharraf has responded to the world’s generous response with his characteristic duplicity

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The last donors may not even have left Islamabad after last week’s conference. Before asking the international community for $5.2 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the October earthquake victims, Musharraf announced that he would postpone the $4 billion deal to purchase F-16 aircraft.

But he didn’t say for how long. Not very long — as it appears. The first two F-16s are expected to be arrive in Pakistan this week. Split enough hairs and you have an explanation.

Pakistan was expected to buy 75 F-16s from the US at a cost of $3-4 billion. Of these, 50 were new F-16C/D Falcon while 25 were old but upgraded versions of the aircraft. The deal included upgrading of the 30 F-16s Pakistan received in the 1980s.

But earlier this month, Pakistan and the United States reached an understanding, allowing Islamabad to temporarily delay the deal at least until April next year. The Bush Administration also delayed an earlier decision to seek Congressional approval for the proposed deal till at least the next session.

The two planes, now being flown to Islamabad, are upgraded versions of the old aircraft that Pakistan had originally received in the 1980s and will be added to the existing fleet of more than 30 F-16s. [Dawn]

Related Post: Selig Harrison argues why the United States must scrap the plane deal with Pakistan.

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