No restriction on Pak over use of F-16s: PAF chief

     Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has said that the PAF would utilise all its assets, including the newly inducted F-16 fighter aircraft, against all 'external and internal' threats. "Our mission is to maintain peace with honour in the region but should this primary effort of maintaining peace fails, the PAF will employ all its assets, including these aircraft, to defend the country against external and internal security threats," Suleman said while speaking during the induction ceremony of the first three of the 18 F-16 C/D Block 52 aircrafts that the US would be providing to Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that Washington had put up stiff conditions on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, stipulating that they cannot be used against India in any future conflict. The stipulations were laid down following New Delhi raising strong objections over the White House's massive military support to Islamabad, during the recent strategic dialogue between the two nations. However, the PAF chief maintained that there was no restriction on the use of the new Falcons (F-16s) against any specific country. "You have also heard my speech. There is no such restriction," he told reporters on the sidelines of the induction ceremony. The F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft is a high tech fighter aircraft equipped with sophisticated state-of-the-art avionics suite, latest weapons with Night Precision Attack capability. The remaining aircraft would be delivered to Pakistan by the end of this year. The delivery of the fighter jets is being made under a 1.4 billion dollar deal between Islamabad and Washington. Pakistan is also paying an additional 1.3 billion dollars for the upgradation of its existing F-16 fleet.

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