Pakistan Rejects US Sanctions on Suppliers to its Ballistic Missile Program

By A Correspondent
Pakistan runs a robust missile development program and the US sanctions are bound to impact it. (Photo via cideo stream)

Pakistan has rejected what it said was the “political use of export controls” after the United States imposed sanctions on four entities for their alleged involvement in supplying “missile-applicable items” to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme, the Foreign Office (FO) said on Saturday.

The Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch issued a statement saying: “We reject political use of export controls.” She said It was 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, a vague reference to arch rival India that has been receiving preferential treatment from Washington as it builds its military.

An embarrassment for Pakistani Junta

The US sanctions are being seen as a snub to Pakistan’s military junta that has imposed an undeclared martial law with the tacit approval of Washington. The embarrassing announcement for the Pakistani generals is bound to irritate them, who are considered America’s most trusted allies in the nuclear armed nation.
It’s interesting that Washington has not held Pakistan accountable for its massive human rights violations, sweeping bans of civil liberties, free speech, political dissent and independent media. Rather it chose to bring the country’s missile program under its sanction regime which will benefit India more than the cause of democracy and human rights in Pakistan.

The announcement came about 72 hours before the arrival of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who is expected to land in Islamabad on Monday, April 22, on a three-day visit.

Hours earlier, on April 19 United States designated and sanctioned four entities for supplying missile-related equipment to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program, including its long-range missile initiatives. In its shocking announcement of slapping sanctions that will impact and weaken its “non-NATO ally’s” ability to maintain a minimum deterrence in a volatile and hostile region, the State Department said that the move was aimed at curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Hours before Washington’s announcement, the US ambassador to Islamabad Donald Bloom met foreign minister Ishaq Dar, a loyalist of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to discuss the Iran-Israel tensions and reportedly conveyed Washington’s concern over Islamabad intensions to build a gas pipeline with Iran. Washington has warned Islamabad agains joining the project. Pakistan is facing serious energy crisis and the Iran gas pipeline can, Pakistanis believe, minimize its energy woes.

“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,” a DoS statement said, adding that the sanctioned entities had supplied missile‐applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program, including its long-range missile program. The announcement identified the following four entities along with the charges these are facing from the US:

– Belarus-based Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant has worked to supply special vehicle chassis to Pakistan’s long-range ballistic missile program. Such chassis are used as launch support equipment for ballistic missiles by Pakistan’s National Development Complex (NDC), which is responsible for the development of Missile Technology Control Regime Category (MTCR) I ballistic missiles.

– People’s Republic of China (PRC)-based Xi’an Longde Technology Development Company Limited, has supplied missile-related equipment, including a filament winding machine, to Pakistan’s long-range ballistic missile program that we assess was destined for NDC. Filament winding machines can be used to produce rocket motor cases.

– PRC-based Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co Ltd has supplied missile-related equipment to Pakistan’s long-range ballistic missile program, including stir welding equipment (which the United States assesses can be used to manufacture propellant tanks used in space launch vehicles), and a linear accelerator system (which the United States assesses can be used in the inspection of solid rocket motors). Tianjin Creative’s procurements were likely destined for Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), which develops and produces Pakistan’s MTCR Category I ballistic missiles.

– PRC-based Granpect Company Limited has worked with Pakistan’s SUPARCO to supply equipment for testing of large diameter rocket motors. In addition, Granpect Co. Ltd. also worked to supply equipment for testing large diameter rocket motors to Pakistan’s NDC.

The sanctions will create new challenges for Pakistan’s robust missile development program. “As a result of today’s action, and in accordance with E.O. 13382, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),” the announcement said. Additionally, it added, all individuals or entities that have ownership, either directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

“All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or exempt,” it added.

These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. Additionally, the entry of designated individuals into the United States is suspended pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 8693.


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