The United States has prevented Turkey from supplying 30 locally-made attack helicopters to Pakistan. Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has stated that “the US has blocked Turkey’s helicopter sale to Pakistan, which will likely lead to Islamabad buying it from China.” The ATAK T-129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is equipped with American engines.
The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has approved an indefinite-delivery contract for Pakistani F-16 fighter jets. The contract has been awarded to Lockheed Martin. The contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST), and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production.
US State Department released a statement on Dec 18, designating Pakistan and eight other countries as “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)”. Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, countries on the CPC list are classified as “having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom”. The list also includes Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is all set to start direct flights to the United States, ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington next week. Islamabad has geared up to take direct flights to New York for the first time in the country’s history after discontinuing it in October 2017 via Manchester due to Washington’s security concerns.
In another positive development, the United States has assured Pakistan that it will soften its travel advisory, enabling Islamabad to attract foreign investors. Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood while talking to media said US was going to soften the travel advisory. Removal of travel advisory would mean both countries can engage in business activities.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has departed for his 3-day visit to United States on a commercial Qatar Airways flight. The decision to fly through Qatar airways is in line with the Prime Minister’s austerity drive to “save taxpayer money”. In stark contrast to visits by previous chief executives, PM Imran’s entire trip to US is expected to cost $60,000.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has refuted all reports claiming that flights operation between Pakistan and United States are likely to be restored. The development was speculated after US government agency reportedly overseeing airport and air carrier security visited Pakistan this week. However, the trip was carried out to strengthen economic ties between both countries and enhance regional connectivity.
A 12-member Homeland Security team reached Islamabad Monday to finalise the matter of resuming direct flights from the United States to Pakistan and vice versa. American authorities green- lightened Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the direct flight operations to the United States in May this year, which had shut its direct flight operations to US owing to financial losses.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal has revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be going to Washington on invitation of President Trump and the two will be meeting on 22nd of July. During the premier’s visit, the focus will be on further improving the ties between the two countries. The two leaders will also talk about “important regional matters”.
As relations worsen between Tehran and Washington over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal a year ago, Iran’s revolutionary guard has shot down a RQ-4 Global Hawk. The guard claims to have shot down the drone in Iranian airspace, while a US official says it occured over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.