United States sanctions seven Pakistani companies

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United States sanctions seven Pakistani companies over intuition they have links to the nuclear trade, potentially hurting Pakistan’s ambitions to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been unpleasant in recent years over Pakistan’s alleged support for Islamist militants conducting war in Afghanistan, something Pakistani officials deny.

The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce imposed the sanctions on the Pakistani companies on March 22 by placing them on its “Entity List”.

The companies had been “determined by the U.S. government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”, the bureau said in a report on a U.S. government website.

The Department of Commerce’s Entity List does not harden assets. However requires that U.S. and foreign companies doing business with those on the list first obtain a license.

The companies came under the Entity List will need special licenses to do business in the United States. The latest companies to be sanctioned, Singapore-based Mushko Logistics and Pakistan-based Mushko Electronics “obtained item for several Pakistani entities on the Entity List”, the U.S. bureau said.

Marine Systems was placed on the Entity list for helping other already-sanctioned bodies obtain items without a license, while Engineering and Commercial Services was sanctioned for “involvement in supplying a Pakistani nuclear-related entity on the Entity List”.

The United States has been concerned about Pakistan’s development of new nuclear weapons systems.