In the backdrop of an upsurge in unilateral American strikes on militants near Pakistan's Afghan border, a US Congressional panel is set to examine the rationale of F-16 programme with Islamabad as part of its war against terror. Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, has convened a hearing entitled "Defeating Al Qaeda's Air Force: Pakistan's F-16 Programme in the Fight Against Terrorism". Ackerman and many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill have for long questioned the rationale of giving the F-16s to Pakistan as a part of the war on terror. The congressmen now want a comprehensive statement from senior officials about the complete scope of the F-16 programme with Pakistan that include the number of planes, updates made to existing planes, proposed armaments, schedule of delivery and source of payment. Hearing by the committee is taking place at a time when Islamabad has widely claimed that F-16s are being used in the pursuit of militants and extremists in the Northern Areas, with media reports suggesting that Pakistan Air Force may have conducted recent sorties in the area just to prove a point. The sub-committee is expected to review what counter-terrorism equipment or programmes were foregone as a result of the July 16 reprogramming request. Besides, the Panel will also look at " how the F-16 programme fits into the broader US strategy in the fight against terrorism as well as into the overall US relationship with Pakistan".