Putting geopolitical costs aside, the best way for PAF to acquire an ideal medium jet fleet is upgrading F-16 Block 52 to Viper standard with US supplies, which is definitely more superior to French tech aka Rafale in IAF. PAF crew know this platform well hence less training required, existing infra/arsenal can continue to service, it's the most cost effective option for PAF. South Korea, Taiwan and Greece are going for F-16V, Turkey has requested now awaiting US to give green light.We can’t get F-16s without major compromises, CPEC and nuclear program…. Are we willing to take that chance?
But chance of F-16V coming to PAF is slim for known reasons, that's why PAF is pursuing a more costly option i.e. seeking an entirely new medium jet platform other than F-16. It's gonna be either a single hi-thrust engine bird like J-10C, or twin-medium engine birds like EFT, Mig-29/35, F-18 (unlikely since it's an US jet). I don't know which one is coming to PAF, but here is an opinion piece on F-16V vs J-10C: