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

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

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.

6 thoughts on “What was that about Pakistan deferring its F-16 purchase?”

  1. Abhishek,

    Same way India buys military equipment for her defence, while millions of homeless sleep on the footpaths of Mumbai.

    Name one country in the world that doesn’t have people below the poverty line? Does the country stop going about its business?

    You can’t ignore the defences of your country, especially when your country is small, and you have a big bully as your neighbor.

    Hope that helped.

  2. Its like the monkeys and cat’s tale we were taught in school.

    There were two monkeys who fought over a ‘roti’ (bread for the uninitiated). A cat comes to be the judge with a weighing scale so that both the monkeys can have equal portion. While weighing the cat ate all the roti and the monkeys were left with nothing.

    With stories like these being taught in our schools, its no wonder children are smarter than most adults.

    As a response to ‘the bully’ mentioned in a post above, have you ever noticed a similarity between how the terror alerts were being raised frequently during Bush’s re-election bid in the USA last november, and the anti-India frenzy being unleashed amongst the common Pakistanis so that some people who can’t get normally elected stay in power? I would not say that this doesn’t happen in India, but surely there is a reason why Indian Prime Ministers keep changing so many times. That can be a bad thing but not when you start getting sick of their antics sooner than later.

    Please don’t start asking for aid for the quake-effected and make people arrange community gatherings to collect aid (and people from all religious backgrounds contribute) and then go use that money to buy a nice fancy car to go on a date. It kind of takes away the integrity of purpose, and humiliates those people who organised those small community gatherings amongts their neighbours. The next time something like this happens, try selling these toys to used car salesmen rather than ask the international community to help, and then berate them for not doing enough.

  3. Abhishek and Hassan,

    This is not the old ‘guns vs butter’ argument. It is about the charade Musharraf pulled off in order to create an impression that Pakistan will put off some expensive defence purchases in order to do its part to assist aid victims. Sachin makes this point in his last paragraph.


    Many Pakistani commentators are asking why Pakistan had to develop nuclear weapons (to prevent being bullied) if it had to run its part in the arms race anyway?


    The way I heard that story, it was the cats that were fighting over the roti and the monkey got the better of them. 🙂

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