US decision to sell F-16 to Pakistan remains foolish

WASHINGTON: United States President Joe Biden’s decision to sell USD 450 million worth of F-16 fleet to Pakistan remains a foolish idea, says a media report.

Michael Rubin, writing in Washington Examiner, a US-based website said that although Secretary of State Antony Blinken, two weeks ago, insisted that the sale would help Pakistan fight against terrorist groups but there are problems with his justification.
Earlier, in September, US State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Pakistan for the sustainability of the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet and equipment at the cost of USD 450 million.

According to the author, Pakistan is more likely to use its air force against its own population in Balochistan, where the government’s mismanagement has resulted in a low-grade insurgency. Biden’s decision of providing the weaponry which Pakistan would use it to target its own citizens is morally obtuse and risks blowback.

The second problem with Blinken’s justification was that while Pakistan’s military has suffered thousands of casualties in its own war on terror, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency continues to finance, equip, and encourage terrorist groups, Washington Examiner reported.

The author writes that until Islamabad takes the decision to stop the ISI leaders for treason for the damage they have done by fanning extremist flames domestically, the US should ignore Pakistan’s victim narrative.

Moreover, the US ignored a bigger problem and that is Pakistan may exercise with China’s air force with the F-16, which would allow a new generation of Chinese pilots to practice against US aircraft and adjust their tactics for the new upgrades. This practice will affect US national security, according to Washington Examiner.

Notably, Pakistan and China have repeatedly held joint air force war games. Some of these include the JF-17 Thunder, a warplane jointly manufactured by China and Pakistan, and Chinese-made Chengdu F-7 interceptors.

In the December 2020 war games, Pakistan did not fly any of its approximately 75 F-16s so as not to antagonize the Trump administration. Not only do Pakistani leaders not fear Biden’s wrath but also, even at the best of times, Pakistani promises are fleeting. No one in Washington should ever forget Islamabad’s pledge not to shelter al Qaeda or arm and fund the Taliban, reported Washington Examiner.

Earlier, also, it was seen that Pakistan had repeatedly allowed China to access US technology so that Chinese firms can reverse-engineer it. This was the case, for example, with equipment scuttled after the operation to kill al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Biden and Blinken repeatedly pursue policies that arguably undermine national security for the sake of diplomatic wishful thinking. According to the author, Congress should slam the door on arms sales to Pakistan. (ANI) 

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