The United States government has reportedly imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani companies over the suspected links to the nuclear trade, potentially hurting Pakistan's ambitions to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has added seven Pakistani companies to a list of foreign entities that are subject to stringent export control measures, local media reported on Sunday.
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. Other companies include a Singaporean affiliate of a Pakistani company, and 15 entities from troubled South Sudan, the report said.
The update list was published in the Federal Register on Thursday.
The list identifies entities “reasonably believed to be involved, or to pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”.
While, three of the companies were listed for 'their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States', two were found procuring supplies for nuclear-related entities already on the list, and two others are suspected to be fronts for already-listed entities, The Express Tribune reported.
Some media reports suggest that additions could affect Pakistan’s chances of joining the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Although China and Turkey have cited procedural issues in adding new members to the NSG, both have underlined the right of Pakistan to aspire to become a member of the club, which works on the principle of consensus to accept new members.
Both India and Pakistan have shown interest in being added to the NSG, but since nuclear neighbours are not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), their inclusion in the group has been pending.