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Thursday May 23, 2024

Pakistan denounces ‘political use of export controls’ after US sanctions

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan has pointed out many times the need to avoid arbitrary application of export controls

By Mariana Baabar
April 21, 2024
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaks during a press conference in this undated image. — APP/File
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaks during a press conference in this undated image. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday rejected what it described as “the political use of export controls” after the United States announced that it was imposing sanctions against commercial entities on allegations of links with Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme.

“While we are not aware of the specifics of the latest measures by the United States, in the past we have come across many instances where listings have been made on mere suspicion or even when the involved items were not on any control lists but were deemed sensitive under catch-all provisions,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“Such listings of commercial entities have taken place in the past as well on allegations of links to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme without sharing any evidence whatsoever,” it added.

“It is a reality that the same jurisdictions, which claim to exercise strict non-proliferation controls, have waived off licensing requirements for advanced military technologies for some countries. This is leading to arms build-up, accentuating regional asymmetries and undermining the objectives of non-proliferation and of regional and global peace and security,” the statement said.

The US had even in the past sanctioned international companies for assisting Pakistan’s missile programmes which was based on sheer politics. There has been no reaction from the Chinese government so far in the face of these allegations.

On Friday, the US State Department claimed that one Belarusian and three Chinese companies were particularly assisting Pakistan’s long-range ballistic missile programme.

“The Department of State is designating four entities pursuant to Section 1(a)(ii) of Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. These entities have supplied missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme, including its long-range missile programme,” said the US State Department.

These four companies it added include Belarus-based Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, People’s Republic of China (PRC)-based Xi’an Longde Technology Development Company Limited, PRC-based Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co and PRC-based Granpect Company Limited.

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan has pointed out many times the need to avoid arbitrary application of export controls and for discussions between concerned parties for an objective mechanism to avoid erroneous sanctions on technology needed purely for socio-economic development pursuits.

“Pakistan has been ready to discuss end-use and end-user verification mechanisms so that legitimate commercial users are not hurt by discriminatory application of export controls,” said the Foreign Office.

While rejecting the US political use of export controls, it pointed out, “It is well known that the same jurisdictions, which claim strict adherence to non-proliferation controls, have waived off licensing requirements for advanced military technologies for some countries. Such discriminatory approaches and double standards are undermining the credibility of non-proliferation regimes and also the objectives of regional and global peace and security by accentuating military asymmetries.”

Mumtaz Alvi adds: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), meanwhile, said that the US government’s action of imposing sanctions on entities ‘supplying’ missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme sent shockwaves across the length and breadth of the country.

In a statement issued here, a PTI spokesperson also demanded the federal government come clean on the very sensitive issue and bring the facts before the nation forthwith.

The spokesperson said that the news was very sensitive and concerning. He added the PTI would not tolerate any kind of attack on national interests or any attempt either knowingly or unknowingly to endanger national security and defence of the country. He made it clear that Pakistan’s peaceful missile programme was of paramount importance for national security, defence and minimum defence capability.

He stated the US administration’s move triggered an unprecedented wave of concern across the country pertaining to the missile programme. He went on to say that it was not possible to blindly believe the government devoid of public mandate to deal with issues relating to defence and foreign affairs. The PTI spokesperson asked that the federal government, especially the Ministry of Defence, should clear their position on the US administration’s step and what strategy they were intending to adopt in this regard. He said the government should apprise the nation as what would be the impact of the sanctions of the US administration on defence, especially the missile programme of Pakistan.