ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday raised its concerns with the United States over the delay in resolving the issue of sale of F-16 jet fighters reiterating that Pakistan needed the aircraft for counter terrorism operations.

The issue was raised by Defence Secretary Alam Khattak with commander of US Central Command (Centcom) General Joseph Votel during a meeting held at the Ministry of Defence here.

According to spokesperson of Ministry of Defence, Khattak impressed upon the visiting US Commander that Pakistan needed F-16 jets in the war against terror, and also inquired about the mechanism and status of future reimbursement in lieu of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) beyond 2016.

Khattak noted that Operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan are testament of Pakistan’s commitment in its fight against terrorism and extremism.

He said that Pakistan highly values its relationship with the US which is spread over six decades and has seen progress in various areas including trade, economy, investment, energy, defence and people to people contact.

The Secretary Defence emphasised the need for further enhancement and diversification of defence relations by transcending from present confines of counter terrorism to the realm of conventional defence.

General Joseph L. Votel, acknowledged the role played by Pakistan Armed Forces in their fight against terrorism and ,added, that continued support from US in training, equipment and necessary funding will act as tools essential to fight against terrorist outfits.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chauhdry on Sunday sounded upbeat that issue sale of F-16 to Pakistan would soon be resolved.

Talking to a private TV channel he said that Pakistan and the US have long history of relations and hoped that issue of sale of F-16s to Pakistan would soon be resolved.

Pakistan had earlier reached an understanding with the US for buying eight F-16 planes. Under the deal, Pakistan was required to pay about $270m from its national funds. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.

Pakistan has conveyed to the US that it does not have the money to buy F-16 jets from its resources and has cautioned that if the stalemate over funding is not resolved it may consider buying some other fighter aircraft to meet its needs.

Meanwhile, the US Centcom commander also held a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in GHQ and exchanged views about the situation in Afghanistan.

According to ISPR, the two military leaders discussed the need for further enhancement and diversification of defence relations by transcending from present confines of counter terrorism to the realm of conventional defence.

It said that matters of mutual and professional interests with special emphasis on security situation in Afghanistan came under discussion.

The visiting dignitary lauded the role of Pakistan Army for bringing peace and stability in the region.

Earlier, on arrival at General Headquarters, a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented Guard of Honour to the visiting dignitary.

General Joseph L. Votel also laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada to pay homage to Pakistan Army Shuhada.