ISLAMABAD - FOREIGN Office has cautioned the United States about casting aspersion on its non-proliferation credentials following reports that Washington has imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani companies over suspicion they have links to the nuclear trade.
Though the listing is a routine exercise of adding and removing entities from the US maintained list but Pakistan’s detractors are using the development to cast doubts about country’s non-proliferation credentials.
No one knows better than the United States about Pakistan’s efforts in the area of export controls and non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security because the two countries have not been engaged in regular talks on the subject but also have active cooperation. The United States has extended support to Pakistan in upgrading the relevant procedures, systems and Washington as well as other members of the international community including International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been expressing complete satisfaction over measures adopted by Pakistan in this regard. Pakistan has always been willing to extend guarantees regarding non-diversion through end-user assurances as well as arrangements for post-shipment verifications.
Under these circumstances, there is absolutely no justification to subject private or public sector entities of Pakistan to undue restrictions and sanctions that could harm the country’s march on the road to progress and prosperity.
It is highly lamentable that on the one hand, the United States and several other developed countries are providing to India all types of technology and equipment including sensitive one that could be used for development of nuclear weapons but on the other hand the United States is restricting Pakistan access to dual use technology that has many industrial applications.
This double standard is one of the major causes of friction between the two countries and needs to be avoided. The latest move comes at a time when the two countries are engaged in formal and informal talks to sort out irritants and understandably this would complicate the situation further.
Apart from Pakistan’s willingness to extend necessary guarantees to suppliers it has also installed, with the US cooperation, a modern container scanner system at Karachi port that can detect suspicious items. Therefore, the United States should stop pressurising Pakistan on the pretext of safety and security of its nuclear assets as well as so-called nuclear trade.