Sunday, March 25, 2018
By Vaqas Asghar
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.
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.
The other companies added to the list include a Singaporean affiliate of a Pakistani company, and 15 entities from troubled South Sudan. The additions were 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”.
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.
Some media reports suggest that additions could affect Pakistan’s chances of joining the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
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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. Earlier, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said he was highly impressed by the standards Pakistan is maintaining at the various civilian nuclear facilities and installations that he recently visited in Pakistan. Amano, while addressing a seminar in Karachi, told the audience, “Your country [Pakistan] is an experienced user of peaceful nuclear technology.”
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The IAEA chief, while summing up the visits he made during his three-day trip, said, “Everywhere [I went] it was clear you [Pakistan] have the knowledge and the pool of people who are dedicated to do this job.” While speaking about his visit to the under-construction facilities, the IAEA chief remarked, “You [Pakistan] are taking a lot of care for the safety and security of the plants.” Nuclear neighbours Pakistan and India have both shown interest in being added to the NSG, but both are not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is a hurdle as all other members of the export control regimes are part of the NPT. Inclusion in the Entity List is considered the ‘highest level of red-flag’ that there is the US export control regime aimed at preventing misuse or repurposing of American dual-use technology (equipment or technology that can be used for both civilian and non-civilian purposes) for undeclared use, mostly military.
Entities on this list – businesses, research institutions, government and private organisations, individuals – are required to seek a licence from the US government to purchase items subjected to EAR, which, it is generally presumed, will be denied to them.
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Companies listed The Pakistani companies on the list include Akhtar & Munir, which has an office on Adamjee Road in Lahore; Proficient Engineers, which has an office in New Garden Town in Lahore; Pervaiz Commercial Trading Co, with an office in Lahore’s Model Town area. Another company on the list is Engineering and Commercial Services, with an office in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad; and Marine Systems Pvt Ltd, with an office in Blue Area, Islamabad.
The last two companies have multiple addresses. Mushko Electronics Pvt Ltd has two offices on Abdullah Haroon Road, one on Main Boulevard in Gullberg-III, Lahore, and two separate offices in Blue Area, Islamabad. It also has a Singapore-based affiliate named Mushko Logistics Pte Ltd with four addresses listed, two at Pemimpin Drive one on Pandan Road, and one on Lakeside Drive.
The last company, Solutions Engineering Pvt Ltd, has been identified as having two aliases – Solutronix Engineering Pvt Ltd, and Solutronix Pvt Ltd. Its listed address include Lahore’s DHA Phase 8, PAF Colony, Begum Salma Tassadaq Road, on The Mall, at Gohawa Dakkhana, Bhatta Kohaar, Lahore, and Sehajpal Village, along with other offices in Islamabad’s F-10 Markaz and at The Mall in Rawalpindi.
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Pakistan has conferred the country's highest civilian award on Asma Jahangir, the human rights icon who died in February. DW talks to Pakistani women who are continuing Jahangir's legacy in a male-dominated society.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday awarded 141 Pakistani citizens and foreign nationals for their extraordinary services in many fields, including science, literature, arts, sports and media. These honors are given every year on March 23, which the country celebrates as "Pakistan Day."
Asma Jahangir, Pakistan's most prominent human rights activist, who died of cardiac arrest on February 11, received the "Nishan-e-Pakistan" (Symbol of Pakistan) award for her relentless struggle to promote democracy and advocate human rights.
Born in Lahore in 1952, Jahingir braved death threats, beatings and, at one time, claimed Pakistan's much-feared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency was trying to murder her.
Jahangir was an outspoken critic of Pakistan's powerful military establishment. She was placed under house arrest in 1983 and later jailed for campaigning for the restoration of democracy. Years later, she was detained again by the government of then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistani rights activists have hailed the incumbent government's decision to honor Jahangir's services, but there is also a sense of concern in Pakistan that not many women in the South Asian country can carry Jahangir's legacy forward.
Women's rights – now and then
Jahangir's struggle was also against patriarchy and male domination in Pakistan. There is very limited space for women in politics and social activism, and in the 1980s, when Jahangir gained prominence for her work as a lawyer and activist, the social outlook was even grimmer for Pakistani women.
"The Women's Action Forum [which Jahangir helped establish] was formed in the 1980s during a dark period in Pakistan's history. General Zia-ul Haq had overthrown a democratically-elected government and hanged then Prime Minister Zulfiaqr Ali Bhutto. There was a ban on political parties and the media was facing censorship," Nasreen Azhar, a veteran human rights activist in Islamabad, told DW.
"Women were at the forefront of the pro-democracy struggle," Azhar added.
Azhar says that 36 years on, Pakistan legislators are more responsive to human rights and have passed many pro-women laws.
"Today, the real threat is not from the state but from non-state actors and groups that are using religion to gain political space," she added.
But Ramish Fatima, a blogger, says despite some improvements as a result of efforts by senior feminists like Jahnagir and Azhar, things are not easy for today's general of women activists.
"A majority of people in Pakistan don't take women's opinions seriously. Social media users often remind me that my following and readership has something to do with my sex and not because of my ideas and writings," Fatima added.
"Many women are still not allowed to receive formal education and they don't have access to health care facilities simply because men don't think it is necessary for women. Domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace are also rampant in Pakistan," she told DW.
#Pakistan - (WAHABI FANATIC ) KHADIM HUSSAIN RIZVI’S REFUSAL TO APPEAR IN COURT REFLECTS THE LOSS OF THE STATE’S WRIT IN MOST OF PAKISTAN
Arrest warrants have been issued for Tehreek-e-Labbaik leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and other absconding suspects in the Faizabad sit-in case, by an Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court. The Supreme Court is also hearing a case against him relating to the November 2017 violent “dharna” that disrupted life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for 20 days. The top court, especially, has expressed great interest in learning how Rizvi managed to cause so much suffering to the general public while also establishing a nascent political party that is already winning more votes in by-elections than the established Pakistan Peoples Party.
Shockingly, no one appears to know much about Rizvi, least of all the intelligence agencies that should have started keeping tabs on him after his Labbaik brought Lahore to a standstill in 2016 after the hanging of Salmaan Taseer’s murderer, Mumtaz Qadri. Despite being an absconder, he continues to stage rallies, even threatening to bring the government to a standstill once more if it does not fully implement the Faizabad agreement by April 1. Even the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate claims ignorance, perhaps finding it routine that absconders in Pakistan rarely bother to appear in court. After all, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan, as well as most of the leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, have pending cases that they refuse to face, continuously rebuffing court summons and defying arrest-warrants.
All this is perhaps “normal” because it relates to the nature of a sick state whose writ is thin in most of its territory. Former president Pervez Musharraf managed to duck out of treason case and was able to leave the county while having his name on the Exit Control List. Somebody just let him go. When he had to return to renew his expired passport, someone at the Pakistani embassy in Dubai renewed it. Former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani, also facing a treason case, was also able to leave Pakistan despite having his name on the same ECL.
Rather than facing the ongoing collapse of its writ, the state seems far more convulsed about the alleged blasphemy committed by the changing of a single word in the text of the oath administered to all members of parliament. It should, perhaps, focus more on how its governance—or lack thereof—increasingly resembles that of “failed states” Somalia and Afghanistan.