ISLAMABAD - The government yesterday told the Senate that there was deadlock in Pak-US relations at the moment due to different reasons but the deal of sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan had not been scrapped yet.

The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz gave these remarks while concluding the debate in the house over the withdrawal of subsidy on sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan by the US.

Aziz said that Pak-US relations were facing deadlock at the moment because of latter’s certain demands.

“We have told US that Pakistan would not compromise on its nuclear program, have not made any commitment to release Dr Shakeel Afridi and third of its demand about action against Haqqani network had not been met as it had not provided any concrete evidence against the militant group,” he said while mentioning some of the demands of US.

The election campaign in US was also one of reasons of bad relations with Pakistan, he said.

He stressed that there was shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy and that was now based on two points: the security of the country is first priority and economic development is the other main priority.

Terming the foreign policy of Pakistan in the right direction, he said that Pakistan wanted good relation in the region and it would not make compromise on its national security and priorities.

The adviser to PM told the Senate that there was stalemate on reconciliation talks with Taliban because of a recent major terrorist attack in Kabul during spring offensive. “But we have asked US to give some time when the dialogue was open and do not take action against irreconcilable groups.”

About the F-16s deal, Sartaj Aziz admitted that US has withdrawn the subsidy on $700 million deal for the eight fighter jets due to active lobbying of India in Washington.

Pakistan was to pay $270 million while the US was to provide remaining $430 million from the Foreign Military Funding (FMF) earmarked for Pakistan.

“India wanted to scrap the deal altogether,” he said, adding that this could not happen and Pakistan had rejected the Indian objections. “We are negotiating with the US State Department and its defence authorities and both have endorsed Pakistan’s stance... the amount earmarked in FMF for Pakistan could be used for other purposes if not for the purchase of F-16.”

The defence minister has written a letter to US authorities sensitising them about the importance of F-16s for the country. “We are (also) taking up the matter with US in the meeting of defence consultation group being held from May 30 to June 3,” he said.

After adviser’s concluding remarks, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said, “Senate of Pakistan, being the symbol of federation, will take steps for Pakistan’s national interest as US Congress took steps for its national interest.”

He referred the matter of withdrawal of subsidy to the joint Senate standing committees on foreign affairs and defence. He ruled that both the committees would hold a joint meeting co-chaired by both two chairpersons and report at least once in every session on the progress of the issue. He said that Senate would revisit its earlier invitation extended to the Chairman of US Senate for Pakistan’ visit in the light of these reports.

While the joint opposition continued its boycott of the house as a protest against the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Senate, the government lawmakers demanded registration of an FIR against Pervez Musharraf and some leaders of MQM for their alleged involvement in May12, 2007 killings in Karachi.

PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said that Mustafa Kamal should hold press conference and tell facts to the nations about the role of MQM in these killings as he was part of the MQM at that time. He added that Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad should also speak the truth.

Raza Rabbani at one point interrupted and said that Mushrraf was abroad so what was the use of registration of FIR against him. He also reiterated his earlier stance that Article 6 regarding high treason had failed to protect the Constitution.