Pak eyes reacquiring helicopters from US

ANI | Updated: Oct 31, 2017 16:09 IST

Washington [U.S.A.] October 31 (ANI): Pakistan is trying to reacquire an unspecified number of helicopters from the United States for anti-narcotics operations.

The move comes after Islamabad returned nine Huey II helicopters it had acquired in 2002 to Washington.

The Ministry of Interior's air wing had been using the choppers for anti-narcotics operations and combating terrorism.

Pakistan had received a total of 12 aircraft - including three fixed-wing Cessna airplanes - from the United States for anti-narcotics operations in Fata and Balochistan.

The Americans have already made "redirection" arrangements - selling it to a third party - so Pakistan cannot re-buy those helicopters. Instead, Pakistan will have to renegotiate a fresh deal, says a Dawn report.

Citing diplomatic sources, the report adds that it should not be difficult to do so as both American and Pakistani officials acknowledge a direct link between narcotics and terrorism financing, Washington believes that stopping drug-trade in this region will also help reduce terrorism.

Pakistan renewed its interest in acquiring the choppers after the recent change of leadership in the interior ministry.

"The decision to return the helicopters was taken by the former interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, while the new minister, Ahsan Iqbal, concluded that the ministry needs them to monitor the drug route, which is also used by the militants," reports Dawn.

During his visit to Washington earlier this month, Iqbal advised the embassy to negotiate a fresh deal with the United States for reacquiring helicopters for his ministry. (ANI)

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