The United States of America put sanctions on seven Pakistani firms over doubt that they have links to nuclear trade, hurting Pakistan’s ambitions to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)—Reuters reported.
However, government representative was not immediately available to comment, US relationships with Pakistan are on the verge of crisis for the last few years since Trump administration came into power and Pakistan’s growing interest towards China.
The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Commerce has imposed a ban on Pakistani companies on March 22 by adding the companies on “Entity List”.
The ban or sanctions is not similar to freezing assets or completely taking the company out of business, the department’s “Entity List” only requires foreign companies to first obtain a license in order to do business with the companies on the list as well as the United States. The companies that are added to the list require special licenses to do business in the United States.
Singapore-based Mushko Logistics and Pakistan-based Mushko Electronics supply items for several Pakistani entities on the “Entity List” according to the report produced by U.S. Bureau. Apart from these two another company named “Solutions Engineering” is involved in supplying of U.S. origin items on behalf of nuclear-related entities in Pakistan that are already on the list.
Akhtar & Munir, Proficient Engineers, and Pervaiz Commercial Trading Co. are the three companies that were placed on the list due to alleged involvement in the proliferation of unsafe nuclear activities that are not in favor of the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States.
The sixth company Marine Systems added to the list for helping organizations that are already sanctioned to obtain items without the license. The last company Engineering and Commercial Services (ECS) was sanctioned due to involvement in supplying items to the Pakistani-nuclear related entity on the “Entity List”.
These sanctions could adversely affect Pakistan’s position to join the NSG group, a 48-nation group dedicated to hinder nuclear arms proliferation by apply control measures in export and re-transfer of materials that could help develop nuclear weapons. Pakistan has applied to join the NSG group in 2016 but little or no progress has been made so far.
The United States has fears about Pakistan’s intention to develop new nuclear weapon systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. has been pursuing Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of “restraint”, said Reuters.