Thursday, May 5, 2016

Senators term US refusal a setback for efforts against militancy : F-16 fiasco failure of Pak foreign policy

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Committee says Pakistani forces and people have rendered great sacrifices, both physically and financially, in the war against terrorism

A legislative body of the Upper House on Thursday termed the fiasco over F-16 fighter jets deal with US a ‘total failure’ of Pakistan’s foreign policy, claiming that Indian lobby was behind it.
The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was of the view that main purpose of getting the latest fighter jets was to improve performance of armed forces in the ongoing war on terror, particularly operation Zarb-e-Azab in tribal areas of the country. It said Pakistani forces and people had rendered great sacrifices, both physically and financially, and refusal by US to fund F-16s was a huge setback for efforts against militancy. ...
The committee also expressed serious reservations over allocation of only Rs 15 million for public diplomacy while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had demanded Rs 150 million for the purpose in the annual budget 2016-17. The committee recommended the government to provide Rs 150 million at least for the public diplomacy, the main purpose of which is to improve Pakistan’s image abroad.
The ministry told the committee that this new initiative on part of it was aimed at increasing interaction with a wide range of government and non-government opinion makers to create better understanding of the foreign policy decisions within Pakistan and abroad. ...

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