By K.N. Pandita,
On 31 December 2008, barely two days after the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the Pentagon quietly announced approval to the defence giant Lockheed Martin transferring eighteen F-16 warplanes to Pakistan.
The deal had been on tabletop for a long time, and Pakistan had made the payment long back. However, the timing of the announcement did spring surprise in some circles in the US.
The Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joseph Biden said. ” The decision to go ahead with half a billion dollar sale of advance fighter aircraft to Pakistan shows how dangerous misguided President Bush’s policy is. How can the White House even think of green-lighting such a sale at such an incredibly sensitive time? It sends exactly the wrong message to Pakistan Generals and to the Pakistani people. This is the time we should be putting pressure on the government and the military to fully investigate the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and to hold free and fair elections and not let them off the hook.”