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Congress Has 30 Days If It Wants To Block Sale Of F-16s To Pakistan

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The U.S. just approved the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, but GOP Rep. [crscore]Dana Rohrabacher[/crscore] finds the sale appalling, saying it will disturb the peace.

“He is appalled by the sale, which is not conducive to peace in the region, the security of Balochistan, or our own national interest,” Kenneth Grubbs, communications director Rohrabacher, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Department of State announced Friday it was pushing ahead with the $700 million deal with Islamabad. With the F-16s in hand, the U.S. hopes Pakistan will ensure militants are unable to maintain any operations in Pakistani territory.

An official said that members of Congress complained about the financing of the sale by the U.S.’s Foreign Military Financing account, as opposed to the sale itself, which appears to be true based on a letter sent by GOP Sen. [crscore]Bob Corker[/crscore], who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Corker also stated that Pakistan provides cover for the Haqqani terrorist network and possibly even supports it.

“This is highly problematic given the Haqqani’s clear involvement in killing the very Afghan army and police we have worked for years to train,” Corker said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Feb. 9.

Still, Rohrabacher seems to oppose the sale for other reasons than fiscal concerns.

GOP Rep. [crscore]Ted Poe[/crscore] also balked at the sale back in December, saying in a House Committee on Foreign Relations hearing, “I don’t know how an F-16, with all of its hardware on there for combat can be used for humanitarian aid. If they were buying C-130s … I could see those being used for humanitarian aid. But F-16! It’s not really humanitarian aid.”

“I don’t trust Pakistan,” Poe added. “Maybe you do, I don’t.”

During the exchange, Department of State Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson refused to directly answer Poe as to whether Pakistan was providing a safe haven to any terrorist groups.

Even with the plan now approved, congressional lawmakers have 30 days to potentially block the sale through a review.

India expressed disappointment with the U.S.’s decision and commented that providing nuclear-capable fighter jets to Pakistan won’t actually help fight terrorism.

“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan,” the Indian Foreign Ministry stated on Twitter, according to The Diplomat. “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of last many years in this regard speaks for itself.”

Washington officials insist Pakistan will help target terrorism in Afghanistan, even though Pakistan is infamous for accepting military aid and funneling support through its intelligence apparatus to insurgent groups.

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