Pakistan 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 US State Department claimed on Friday evening that the entities — three Chinese and one from Belarus — were particularly assisting Pakistan’s long-range missile endeavors.

The statement specified that “the ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior.”

The entities facing sanctions include the Belarus-based Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, the People’s Republic of China-based Xi’an Longde Technology Development Company Limited, Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co Ltd and Granpect Company Limited.

As per the sanctions imposed under Executive Order 13382, all property and interests in property of the designated entities that are in the United States or under the control of US persons are now blocked. Furthermore, any individuals or entities with ownership, directly or indirectly, of 50 per cent or more by the designated persons are also subject to these sanctions.

These measures prohibit transactions involving any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons unless authorised by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or exempt. This includes contributions and provision of funds, goods, or services to or from any blocked person.

Moreover, the entry of designated individuals into the United States has been suspended under Presidential Proclamation 8693.

The US government explained that “the integrity of these sanctions lies not only in the ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN), but also in the willingness to remove persons from the list in accordance with the law.”

Following the sanctions, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch issued a statement today saying: “We reject political use of export controls. 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.”

She added that “such discriminatory approaches and double standards” undermine the credibility of non proliferation regimes and also the objectives of regional and global peace and security by “accentuating military asymmetries”.

Baloch said that such listings of commercial entities took place in the past as well on allegations of links to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme “without sharing any evidence whatsoever”.

“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,” she said.

Baloch said that Pakistan had 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”.

She concluded that Pakistan was ready to discuss end-use and end-user verification mechanisms so that legitimate commercial users wre not hurt by the “discriminatory application” of export controls.

‘Sanctions reminder to Pakistan of American carrot and stick policy’

Shuja Nawaz, a fellow at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council in Washington, told Dawn that “the nub of US sanctions on four entities allegedly supplying missile technology to Pakistan is captured in its stated aim: The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior.”

But he also noted that the sanctions directly punished Pakistan for pursuing the development of missiles.

“In a week when the US officialdom went out of its way to assist Pakistan in its economic recovery efforts via the IMF, World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, as well as US development finance institutions, these sanctions are going to punish Pakistan publicly,” Nawaz said, adding that this was “a reminder that for all the carrots, there are sticks that the US can deploy.”

Nawaz suggested that Pakistani authorities should also “ask themselves who inside Pakistan provided the information to American authorities?”

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