US sanctions

Editorial Board
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

The US has imposed sanctions on four international companies – three Chinese and one from Belarus – or supplying “missile-applicable items to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program, including its long-range missile program”. Naturally – and rightly so-’ Pakistan’s Foreign Office has strongly rejected these allegations and said that such actions are discriminatory and the “same jurisdictions, which claim strict adherence to non-proliferation controls, have waived off licensing requirements for advanced military technologies for some countries.” Pakistan is correct in pointing to the arbitrary use of sanctions by the US in the garb of non-proliferation without any substantive evidence. Such actions also put Pakistan’s relationship with the US in a precarious position. The country has acted responsibly ever since it acquired its nuclear programme and it is no secret that it was done after India launched its nuclear program in the South Asian region. India meanwhile has acted as a bully in the region and had it not been for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, it would have threatened peace in the region because of its hegemonic designs.

As for the West, there are indeed double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to how they see countries like Pakistan while turning a blind eye to or rather arming a country like Israel with nukes in a volatile region like the Middle East. This in itself speaks volumes about their commitment to non-proliferation. While it is important that proliferation does not take place, it is equally important to give concrete evidence of such serious allegations before imposing sanctions on international entities.

Some have pointed to the timing of the State Department’s announcement, which comes just before an important visit of Iranian President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi to Pakistan today. This will be the first visit by any head of state to Pakistan after the general elections in February. In light of the recent attacks by Israel against Iran – in Syria and then in Iran itself – the timing by the US is indeed suspect. Israel is committing genocide in Palestine live on our television screens for everyone to see while the West, particularly the US, has turned a blind eye to its war crimes. It is important for Pakistan to assert its right to make its own decisions within the realm of domestic and international law and without being policed or dictated to by any country. That this needs to be reiterated is a reflection of the skewed power relations that exist within the global community. However, the US must surely recognize the obviousness of its lopsided censure policies. Our relations must not be sacrificed at the altar of such knee-jerk policy controls and unwarranted and unjustifiable interference.