LAHORE: Amid calls on the nation to improve Afghanistan-Pakistan ties, the United States has declared in a Capitol Hill meeting that the F-16 jet deal with Pakistan was no longer a viable offer.
“The drone strike that killed Mullah Mansour was an ice-breaker. There could be more strikes in Balochistan now. This is a very dangerous situation for Pakistan,” warned Marvin Weinbaum, a US scholar from the Middle East Institute, Washington.
According to Dawn, a spokesman for the Pakistan Embassy, Ubaidur Rehman Nizami, however, urged members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group to get together to consider the consequences of the May 21 drone strike that killed Mullah Mansour.
The group includes the United States, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which was formed last year to seek a negotiated settlement to the Afghan dispute.
The Capitol Hill meeting was organised by the Pakistani American Congress.
“Forever is a long time but the term of the offer has expired. So for now it is not a viable offer,” said State Department official David Ranz.
“We are committed to this important relationship with Pakistan. We are committed to getting through the challenges, and to building a stronger relationship,” Ranz said.
Ranz, however, acknowledged that the United States had concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear programme and about terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Besides these two long-standing issues, recent short-term issues like imprisoning Dr Shakil Afridi, who allegedly helped the US trace Osama bin Laden, also strained bilateral relations, Ranz said.