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01:45 PM, June 14, 2016
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Pakistan To Hire Lobbying Firm For Easing Defence Procurement from the US
Pakistani F-16 fighter jet

Pakistan has set out to hire a lobbying firm in the US to smoothen defence procurement in Washington and to prevent fiascos such as the recent collapsed F-16 sale.

The US had been conveyed that Pakistan would respond to the increasing imbalance in the region because of the Indo-US defence cooperation through maintaining its strategic deterrence, adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was quoted as saying by Dawn Monday.

He said the move for appointment of a lobbyist had been started and short-listing of prospective firms was being done.

The government has so far remained averse to hiring the lobbyist. The military, in view of the intended defence procurements including the F-16s, had last year advised the government to hire a lobbying firm, but the proposal was shot down ostensibly because of apprehensions that the lobbyist may be used by the military for its own promotion.

Pakistan is considering a Jordanian offer to buy sixteen used F-16 jets in lieu of the eight advanced fighters it could not buy from the United States because of a financing row, but officials fear Washington could still throw a spanner in the works.

The case for the purchase of F-16s from the US is closed, “we are now going for a third party transfer of F-16s and have an offer from Jordan”, Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Alam Khattak told a joint sitting of the Senate committees on defence and foreign affairs, which had been asked by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to review the current state of Pak-US ties and suggest the way forward.

Secretary Khattak conceded that the used Block-30 F-16s being offered by Jordan were not of the same quality and standard as the Block-52 that were originally intended to be bought from the US.

Pakistan had earlier in 2014 bought around a dozen F-16s from Jordan, which has been modernising its fleet.

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