On 15th December, the US Department of Commerce issued an update to its Entity List, adding seven entities in Pakistan which appear to be linked to Pakistan’s missile programme.
The move by the BIS End User Review Committee follows close scrutiny of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes prompted, in part, by a report published by Project Alpha in November. That report had identified most of the entities that were added to the US list on the 15th December as well as up to a dozen more front companies procuring illicit goods on behalf of Pakistan, including front companies thought to act on behalf of the newly designated entities.
The timing of the move is noteworthy. With little over a month to go until the inauguration of President Trump, it is possible that the Obama administration acted to list these entities foreseeing a window in which the move would not necessarily hamper US diplomatic ties with Pakistan. While there are signs that Pakistan is discontent with the US action, the Pakistani government will wish to start fresh with the Trump administration regardless.
It is also notable that the US appears to have focused these additions around entities involved in Pakistan’s missile programme. Given that Pakistan earlier this year applied to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, any move by the US to designate entities connected to Pakistan’s nuclear programme would likely be taken as an overtly political act by the outgoing Obama administration.
The entities sanctioned the US are noted below.
- Ahad International
- Engineering Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
- National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM)
- Air Weapons Complex (AWC)
- Maritime Technology Complex (MTC)
- New Auto Engineering (NAE)
- Universal Tooling Services
The US announcement can be found here:
The public version of the Alpha in-depth Report on Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs can be accessed here: http://projectalpha.eu/research-opens-a-window-into-pakistans-nuclear-weapons-programme/