ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has cautioned the US against casting aspersions on its nuclear non-proliferation credentials after the US Department of Commerce added seven Pakistani companies to its list of countries that are subject to stringent export control measures.
The move, some observers believe, may be aimed at undermining Pakistan’s efforts to become member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a 48-member exclusive club of nuclear trading nations.
We have seen reports regarding the addition of seven Pakistani entities to the Entity List maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce. The entities in question are private sector companies,” the Foreign Office said in a statement issued on Monday.
It said being added to the Entity List means that these companies will be subject to additional licensing requirements for access to certain US-origin items. “We shall be seeking information from the US as well as these companies to better understand the circumstances which led to the listing.”
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan believes that there should be no undue restrictions on the access to dual-use items and technologies for peaceful and legitimate purposes.
“Pakistan has always been transparent and willing to engage with the suppliers of the dual-use items, including from the US, to extend guarantees regarding non-diversion through end-user assurances as well as arrangements for post-shipment verifications.
“Pakistan has arranged for such post-ship verifications by certain other international suppliers of dual-use items to their complete satisfaction,” he said.
The spokesperson said Pakistan’s efforts in the area of export controls and non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security are well known. “Pakistan and US have a history of cooperation in these areas,” Faisal said.
“It is well-known that the Entity List maintained by the US Department of Commerce is a dynamic list where entities and businesses from several countries, including from NSG member states, are added and removed based on the national technical determination made by the relevant US authorities.”
“As such, we caution against unnecessarily politicising the issue,” the spokesperson added.
He rejected attempts by Pakistan’s detractors to exploit these listings to cast aspersions on Pakistan’s non-proliferation credentials. “Such attempts give rise to doubts about the motivation and timing of these measures which will be seen as being politically-driven,” he said.
The US Department of Commerce (DoC) added seven Pakistani companies to a list of foreign entities that are subject to stringent export control measures.
The Pakistani companies are among 23 additions to the Entity List of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which is managed by the DoC’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
The other companies added to the list include a Singaporean affiliate of a Pakistani company, and 15 entities from troubled South Sudan. The additions were published in the Federal Register on Thursday.