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The U.S. sanctions seven Pakistani firms
September 21, 2017
Babur Version 2 land-attack cruise missile. Photo credit: Inter Services Public Relations

The U.S. sanctions seven Pakistani firms

The United States has placed sanctions upon seven Pakistani firms, including three state-owned bureaus engaged in defence development work.

These sanctions were placed because the U.S. government had determined that these “entities [are] acting contrary to the national or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

Of the seven firms, the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) and its branches, Air Weapons Complex (AWC) and Maritime Technology Complex (MTC), are among the sanctioned firms.

Effective 15 December 2016, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed “a license requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a license review policy of presumption of denial.” This is applicable to all items slotted for export, re-export, or transfers to the listed entities.

Notes & Comments:

Besides stating that the listed companies are “acting contrary to the national or foreign policy interests of the United States”, neither the U.S. government or the BIS have stated exactly what the listed companies are engaging in to necessitate the sanctions.

That said, it is worth noting that NESCOM is principally behind Pakistan’s various strategic deterrence programs, such as the country’s particularly controversial ‘tactical nuclear weapons’ work. Although the cause behind the sanctions are not publicly known, the actual outcome is to evidently limit the activities of Pakistan’s strategic weapons development arms.

NESCOM is responsible for Pakistan’s ballistic and cruise missile programs – i.e. the Babur and Ra’ad land-attack cruise missile (LACM) programs. Interestingly, the sanctions were placed well after the fact Pakistan revealed its LACM solutions and, more importantly, their relevance to its nuclear weapons doctrine.

The sanctions could be an indication of the U.S. believing that Pakistan is now actively furthering these programs, be it extending range or adding deployment platforms. The inclusion of MTC in the sanctions list could indicate that Pakistan’s sea-based deterrence efforts are gaining momentum.

The formation of the Naval Strategic Force in 2012 was officially described as a move towards developing a maritime deterrence leg. With China supplying eight new air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines to the Pakistan Navy, it would not be unreasonable to posit that Pakistan is aiming to configure these new submarines for deploying LACMs.

  • Hashim Rasheed

    Another farcical step taken by the US, depicting their hypocrisy. These organisations have been working for years, yet there were no sanctions. Similar organisations are also working in India, producing similar missiles, yet Pakistani entities pose a threat to US foreign policy interests. Pakistan is looking to safeguard its own national interests, and not the foreign policy interests of the US.

    • Qasim57

      I don’t think we understand the full picture. I for one don’t understand the motive. At a time when India is vigorously testing ICBMs, why is Pakistan’s smaller missile programme being singled out now (with such vague charges).

    • amar

      Similar organisations in India dealing with strategic weapons are on sanction list of usa for instance BARC

      • MT

        Barc was removed after india signed 123 agreement with usa for nsg waiver.

        India is presently american ally. So Barc can order anything frm west but it prefer to make them inhouse cheaper

        • amar

          But my friends say that US is quite unwilling to cooperate with BARC in terms of procuring certain items. They design most of the stuff in house– in terms of R&D they are way way better than DRDO.In fact they take some of the best students from non-IIT/NIT colleges.

          • MT

            No sanctions but US not willing to share any technology. USA India technology defence agreement is filled with hobby drone project.
            USA don’t offer any consultancy to Indian projects something Turkey has been getting bcoz of good pvt pvt partnerships in tai Ankara, radar nd many composite , projects of f35 where IP comes from USA companies.

            France Russia are only two friends in offering consultancy. Israel is too rigid as I hear from barak8, experience.
            India should partner with small countries such as Italy Brazil s Africa nd Ukraine which ll be faster to build many fold technology covering all sectors.
            Wrt India;,USA just want to sell stuffs at more than market price. In nuclear field India have the sound base so it can r&d much faster

            India prefers buying some civil nuclear parts wrt control system from china due to cost issues. China have licensed the advanced light Ap1000 reactor IP from Westinghouse USA/Japan so some of their parts too used in Barc heavy wafer reactor nd Russian designed/partially indigenously manufactured reactor’s.

  • Thunder

    US has generally targeted NESCOM as Engineering Solutions & New Auto Engineering are some of the names used by entities working under NESCOM.

  • Waqas

    don’t rely on USA they never think more than their interests but nothing to worry so many other options are their just need to ex polite.

  • Naveed Khan

    This is a reward of Pakistan sacrifice to safe USA by fighting their fight against terror.

  • jαнαɴzeαв

    shame on US for giving Pakistan kind of response what we did for them .. its time Pakistan should say good bye to US and build strong allies between china , Russia , turkey kick US out of Asia

  • Steve

    It’s not a big deal as similar Chinese firms are also sanctioned. This is purely strategic related. However overall it is not good as it will damage relations as Pakistan is not going to stop these programmes. It’s an outgoing lame duck administration instigated by some Hindu loving congressmen (who get donations from ‘NRIs’) and US federal government selectively over applying existing rules. This will tie the new admins hands a bit re: Pakistan. Our embassy should be aware of these lateral problems sneaking in by using obscure rules, before they become effective. We need to make representations to the new admin vigorously after January 20. Our FM and ambassador should be working hard at this, and lobbying effectively. Oh I remember, no FM! Oh well, NS can have some more nihari and kebabs, that might help. This is what I mean by incompetence. This is not the army’s fault as we obviously can’t disarm.

  • Qasim57

    Pakistan didn’t import Shaheen-III from America and assemble it into Shaheen-IV.

    Despite India’s massive R&D the failure rate is way higher than other organizations, wastage of public funds and inefficiencies are all too common in govt projects. Missiles still regularly fail after years and decades of pouring funds.

    • MT

      Shaheen2/3 is nothing but DF 18 with elongated 1s stage

      Just tell me what subsystem of shaheen nd babur r made by nescom .
      Nescom was new organisation with no real r^d capacity set up after shunting of suparco.

      Babur is gift from china post reverse engg of ukrainean missile.
      Only help from pak was sending broken tomahawk to cheen.

      In return china gave u designed/developed/tested babur.

      Raad was designed /developed by kentron/denel dynamics africa.

      The reason india is failing nirbhay shows that cruise missile development is not import & paint job. Drdo has designed/wind tunneled nd been making all subsystems In house. .

      Failure are related to software guidance system wher more work is needed to perfection
      Drdo failed SRBM(agni) nd slbm (k series)test in last decade nd now its in league of p5 nation with triad.

    • MT

      Tons of literature available to know origin of most Pakistani inventories

      I ll sum up in a quote: pak is sole nuclear Power besides sanctioned Korea which can make nukes but hasn’t ever designed/developed/manufactured a single power nuclear reactor
      U very much know how pak produced nukes and how it got missile?

      How could pak produce a cruise missile without any significant industry nd r&d while it only makes below par 70era SSM Shaheen missile (e
      Literature also tells how pak procure surface to surface missile).

      • Crusher

        Very subjective analysis without references. Pakistani companies would have been sanctioned far earlier had they been importing parts from China for their missiles. Remember the limit is 300 km. And as for the nuclear reactors India hasn’t built one of its own. You have Canadian and Russian reactor technology so stop chest thumping with empty achievemet. We know prowess and reality of Indian R&D and the results.

        • MT

          1.India manufactures 4diff set of heavy water reactor with max700mw.. These are 2-3decade advance tech than. Primitive candu reactor. At currently India manufacture cheapest heavy Water reactor in world wrt mw/cost.

          2.india is manufacturing Russian reactor partially in India
          3 india is among top3country to research nd build fast breeder reactor’s

          4.India top 2country in thorium cycle research

          5.Barc advanced light water reactor similar to AP1000 Westinghouse ll be released before 2020.

          6. Look at nti report nd u ll?see Indian companies in top 6-7nuclear fabricators worldwide. Pak is producing only for nukes from Chinese aided plants for khushab/kahuta

          I HV already discussed origin of pak ballistic missile.everyone know their origin and name of original missile n host country. Pak missile program is barely indigenous. Sanctions could nevertheless come as u were American ally during last 2wars

    • amar

      Of course indian missiles fail just like how even the american and soviet missiles used to fail during their initial days of development. As for wastage of public funds–i would strongly disagree–this R&D(albeit slow) has developed an entire eco-system of research and industries in india. There are industrial zones in india that cater to india’s various programes– like in tamilnadu,bangalore,hyderabad.
      Another reason is,unlike india’s R&D,pakistan doesnt play fair and everything is highly opaque and shady. Pakistan never announced even a single failure of missiles in itz entire development run.

  • Sami Shahid

    USA is just trying to blackmail Pakistan because Pakistan is moving closer to Russia on the Afghanistan issue. Pakistan should not worry instead it should continue its relationship with Russia. However, a Pakistani official said that our missile production program is totally indigenous and such sanctions won’t make any difference.

    • Shakeel

      Good point sami.

  • Heart Breaker

    And the US calls itself a friend of Pakistan!!! US is showing its loyalty to India by doing such biased actions and
    blocking the membership process for Pakistan into NSG.

  • Steve

    Yes Indian scientist had no help from anyone whatsoever and just have a revelation about how to make rockets starting from V2. Oh I forgot, they bypassed that stage and went straight to Agni X. Read the following, its from a source friendly to you.

    https://in.rbth.com/blogs/2013/12/04/how_indias_cryogenic_programme_was_wrecked_31365

    • MT

      Well they didn’t import Agni engine from Chinese hexagon chemical limited with exact 1.0 metre nd 1.4 metre diameter nd precisly same isp specific impulse of FG36 long March 1.

      Missile origin predates to Nazi Germany but what matters is how much of r&d you put in

      Indian scientists went on post doc to USA Russian France Germany to grab the knowledge.

      Cryogenic is liquid fuel engine no country has ever used in ICBM which is only relevant to medium-sized SLV irrelevant to solid gen missile technology

      India wanted Russian cryogenic technology which china too licensed in early 90.

      But it was sanctioned by USA so India spent a decade more time to build from scratch.

      Now India has 2cryo engine one with single stage nd other gas multi stage combustion.

      These technologies are different from Russian or other design.infact next CE 500 will be world second biggest cryogenic engine to be under development at ISRO

      Agni is solid missile technology and it has evolved from knowledge gained fromPrithvi missile since 1970. Ofcourse Agni is solid while Prithvi is liquid engine propelled

      It took 3decades to build Agni v from naive Agni 1. Agni solid missile used SITVC : FUEL INJECTION thrust vector control initially a technology far advanced that Shaheen jet vanes.

      Now Agni uses gimballed thrust vector control in all stage while Shaheen continue to use same V2 jet vanes model

      The specifics fuel impulse of Shaheen nd Agni are way way apart. ISRO operates world third biggest solid rocket engine and booster so u can imagine the r&d DRDO receives from ecosystem

    • amar

      My friend! Of course india did indeed get help from abroad in 70s till perhaps mid-late 80s. But the nature of that help was limited to training,outsourcing dual use components etc whereas in pakistan’s case,the extent of collaboration ranged from training all the way to importing chinese and north korean missiles directly in the form of either fully assembled systems or KD or SDK kits.

      • MT

        These crowd believe in binary logic.

        According to their logic Soviet which gifted vintage missile tech nd nuke to china in early 60. so Chinese progress in missile nd nuke technology since 70s is sham

        But it’s very easy to grab pak progress in nuclear enrichment.

        According to arms control wonk the top expert on nuclear technology reveals: mr Khan from pak could only get 1 to 4gen of centrifuge enrichment tech design from urenco which pak shared with china in return for manufacturing experience nd technology to make it in pak.

        Article still available at armscontrolwonk

        But since last 2decades of urenco saga pak still doesn’t hv 5 the gen carbon fibre centrifuge which shows its lack of native r&d
        This is the problem in pak while china nd India both have mastered ,5 th gen centrifuge design.

        5yrs ago china licensed 6th gen centrifuge from Russia.

  • Türker Demircan

    Hello all from Turkey….Great analysises, very good work…Will be following

  • SP

    Interesting coincidence, Pakistani defence minister reminds Israel that Pakistan is also a nuclear power and a few days later the US imposes sanctions. This clearly indicates that the zionists control the US. The Pakistani response to these sanctions should be to develop missiles that can easily target Israel from any point of Pakistan and also from the sea.

    • Steve

      I’m sure the two events are totally unrelated

  • Steve

    It’s not a big deal as a lot of Chinese firms are similarly sanctioned, however this is not good. It will just ruin relations as Pakistan is of course not going to stop its programs. It’s the outgoing lame duck US administration instigated by Hindu loving congressmen, sucking up to the Indians before they leave. Democrats have been really terrible for Pakistan historically. Our embassy is not effective if we learn if such steps after they happen. Pakistan should make representations after January 20 to the new admin. Where’s our FM and ambassador, and what they doing? Oh I know, no FM! Oh well, NS can have some more nihari and kababs, that might help.

    • fapple fapple

      Indeed, although the sanctions have very limited implications for the maintenance of current weapons systems and even innovation of new nuclear technology, they signal an abruption in the downhill gradient of US-Pakistan relations, which, as a few people have stated before such as on Pakistan Defence Forum, may be a blessing in disguise. Although it is too early to validly define the future of Pakistani-American ties, it must be said: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

  • nob hamid gul

    Fool are those bashing United states. I mean, What do you expect from enemy?

  • Steve

    I think some pressure tactics are needed. I think it is time to start building ICBM’s and thermonuclear weapons like India using the same organisations and offering to limit missile range and thermonuclear weapons in return for some serious tech in naval and air defence…this is of course if our representations are rebuffed. Let’s give them a chance to develop good relations with us and keep us from spending money on weapons we will not use.

  • MT

    Pak r $ d in civil nuclear energy capabilities are not in any league.
    For the same reason there is no credible western support to let pak join nsg as it barely makes few simple components.

    India on the other hand is exporting fabricated nuclear components including large boilers in nuclear market.

    India joining nsg ll help west outsource manufacturing of precision tools used in nuclear industry to india

    • Steve

      Good luck with NSG. China has introduced merit based criteria which every aspiring country has to fulfill. No country is so important or extraordinary that a special case has to be made, especially Third World countries. Thankfully NSG is not run by George Bush and nepotism cannot be allowed, just because it currently fits in with a certain country’s geopolitical plan. NPT will have to be signed I think.

      • MT

        The new merit based rules nd regulations introduced by major npt states favor indian entry

        China alone can’t keep blocking for ever as Other small nation’s such as Austria nz are on board with india but new merit rule says pak ll have to first get an exemption from nsg as india got in2008 before being considered for membership

        India wants to join nsg bcoz it wants to sell reactors nd its de facto next UNSC permanent member being 6th biggest economy nd home to 16% world population.

        Not sure what has pakistan to offer world given its companies are still sanctioned for mess since saga of Mr khan

        • Steve

          What Pakistan will or won’t offer is up to Pakistan not Indians. We are already building Chinese reactors with collaboration. U.K. is also buying those reactors so the quality is great. American world view with the need to contain China after its rise is what India is benefiting from. We shall see about NSG. Like always don’t count your chickens before they are hatched and boast before you get membership. We as always are optimistic:)

          • MT

            Pak only offers indian card to west,china. West used pak for 70yrs to contain rise of India but now they realize the futility of such exercise

            China toll will realize sooner or later if it wants to be accepted as leader of Asia.
            India have almost 100% access to all nuclear technology after India signed 123 agreement/hyde act in 2008. Since then India have signed nuclear deals with dozen countries

            India wants to join NSG to improve its export of nuclear technologies given some of Indian companies such as L&T(Larsen and tubro) are already exporting nuclear fabricated equipment to west including china

          • amar

            My friend what exactly do you know about reactor engineering?When was the last time pakistan ever designed an energy reactor? I have posed this question multiple times at pdf but people get offended whenever they are asked to prove their fantastic claims.It seems ‘proofs’ are not part of pakistani higher education

        • Steve

          India does not make NSG rules. Western counties are not going to come to save you. The waiver issue that you spin is something that is not true and you are just being disingenuous now. Like I said you wish George Bush was NSG head but he is not. No more special exemptions that gave you an unrealistic and exaggerated sense of self importance. India and Pakistan can enter together or neither can. China and Turkey will block as long as needed. No matter what Indians wish with this “isolation” nonsense driven by your PM, Pakistan is a nuclear power with 200 peaceful nuclear devices like ‘Smiling Buddha’ with more yield, and a population of 200 million. Good luck in convincing the world to “isolate” such a large and important country at the cross roads of Asia.

          • MT

            what makes you think that pak enjoys any parity with India on any sector be it humane resources,skills, technology,diplomacy or economy
            Pak may be spending all of its nuclear R^D on making nukes while India is not that keen to make many plutonium nukes as it believe that its conventional capability is sufficient to deter china

            Ofcourse there are rumours of thermonuclear facility being developed with 5/6th gen advanced uranium enrichment capability. So India in future plans to keep few powerful KT/MT bombs rather waste money in small KT 2/3 KM range plutonium devices

            Rules of world are dictated by individual country capability. India is already nearing the entry of NSG. Rest assured its not India but the world which doesnt treat pak as normal nuclear state. Indian govt official policy is to not block pak entry in future but for pak to get entry on high table is mammoth task with winds of uncertainty about pakistan image,economy in the word

            Blame your govt policy in region and your past record of endless proliferation; India and pak are not in same league.

            Turkey didnt block Indian entry into MTCR so dont rely your country policy on china as main saviour. India / china will have converging interest in region once we get rid of bottlenecks and subtle differences

            China knws that a nation with 6th biggest economy(to be 3rd largest economy in 2020),5th largest manufacturer, and 2nd largest population deserves entry to big tables

            India is already home to one of biggest investment by chinese tech companies in e/commerce,mobile phone manufacturing

            India china are old civilization which have co existed. India will soon make its way to old glory but more of it depends on nationalist govt stability(which is good),reforms and R$D investment aided with significant rise in educational, knowledge skills

          • Steve

            Look I don’t want to start on history since you are on a very weak wicket (like they say) on that issue. It also makes Indians very emotional. You forget that most of India’s ‘old glory’ was under Muslim rulers, the Delhi sultanate, the Mughals and others were our kings. We lost our empire due to infighting and intrigue. Pakistan is the successor state to the Mughal empire, and I challenge you to prove that wrong in open debate. Why do you guys hate Babur and Aurangzeb so much if Indians accept them as ‘their’ rulers. You should be erecting a statue of Aurangzeb rather than Shivaji if that were true. .

          • MT

            Indian civilisation is 5000yr old.
            Taxila ( very hard for u to pronounce?) Gandhara is modern day kandahar wre all part of our civilisation
            Mughals too make it but Auranzeb reminds
            Us of Hitler with his brutal repression nd mass conversion of natives.

            U should learn to live in reality. Pakistan is 70yr old country carved out of india & its present value is measured by its strength of democracy, economic nd HR progress it made post independence.

          • Steve

            Of course we know what makes a modern nation, despite Indian propaganda that we are regressive, over-religious and irrational and only study in madressas. However, I am really happy that you have confirmed that Indian Hindus (80% population) do not think of Mughals as their emperors thereby confirming and accepting Pakistan’s legacy, and the 2 nation theory. People in our country and worldwide who express doubts about Pakistan’s ancestry and identity should take note. 🙂 You should make this clear to visitors you take to Taj Mahal and Red fort. Anyway let’s stop history as it’s not the subject here and we all know it makes you emotional. BTW we know Taxilla well. That where we make Al-Khalid tanks 🙂

          • MT

            Read my previous post.
            I Included Mughals but excluded brutal auranzeb who exiled his father to dark cell; killed all his sibling brothers.

            He was everything but a role model.
            It’s your religious innerself which treat him as savior bcoz u know the crimes he committed against native

            Taxila is one of the ancient city of learning home to monasteries and stupas which exported Buddhism to china and far east. Lahore was built by ram son luv/lav

            So don’t worry we ll neve harm our heritage centre and archaeological places in Taxila, harappa, mohanjadro.
            But can’t assure you that HIT TAXILA is not among one of the brahmos target.

          • Shakeel

            Simply beautiful. Music to my hears.

  • Limpkisar

    What an irony, India has tested ICBM and US imposed sanctions against Pakistan. India has been violating MTCR guidelines but US has put blind eye. This kind of hypocrisy won’t be helpful for neither US nor other countries. US needs to get rid of its double standards.

  • Steve

    Pakistan just needs to keep working hard as a nation and not be distracted by these relatively minor issues. We need good leaders, patriotic citizens, and top rate education, with emphasis on innovation and industry. The army needs a sharp nuclear sword to keep our enemies at bay, and nobody can stop our progress as a nation. Optimistic signs are everywhere. A generational effort is needed and we will get there!

  • Shakeel

    Did you know that certain pundits, are masters at spin.They will mislead the world into thinking that all things great originate from their country, whilst forgetting to mention that they are the second largest importer of arms in the world. So much for being indigenous? & then blah,blah,blah.

    • Steve

      I don’t think they are pundits. More like salaried agency internet propagandists sitting in dusty offices with old desktops (indigenous) 🙂 flooding every forum with unrealistic praise of India, spin, half-truths and outright lies. They all have a brief and a typical style. Most of them write long essays with typical ‘hinglish’ words, minor grammatical mistakes here and there, and phrases from the 1950’s and 60’s. They also have lots of databases that favour an Indian spin on every issue. They think this is advancing Indian soft power and viewpoint. They have no perception or insight how much it annoys Western audiences and how much they hate Indians for being aggressive and annoying online. I could give links of Western forums where these people are made fun of nonstop.

      Of course these guys start shrieking ‘racist’ but nobody cares. Bilal may not publish this as he is an inclusive guy and tries not to upset anyone even Indians lol

      • Shakeel

        I salute you Steve. Your comments are nicely sumed up. Thumbs up!

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