Why the U.S. and UK Should Sanction Pakistan’s JF-17 Fighters?

On-going violence in Afghanistan has raised demands to sanction Pakistan for its support of the Afghan Taliban. Countries, which want a stable Afghanistan and believe in human values, must consider the option of such sanctions targeted at the Pakistani military.

Pakistan’s powerful ISI has been directly supporting and operating with Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan. Congressman Adam Kinzinger said this in a tweet after a Fox News report quoted a source saying that the Pakistani military is assisting the Taliban offensive in Panjshir, including 27 helicopters full of Pakistani Special Forces, backed up by Pakistani drones.

Pakistan ISI and Haqqani network

With increasing bickering between the Taliban and the Haqqani network, Pakistan is making all efforts to exploit the situation and maintain a stronghold in Afghanistan under the new regime.

The Pakistan-controlled Haqqani network played a key role in the Taliban taking over Afghanistan. The deadly terror group is said to have put together and trained the Badri 313 unit that managed to defeat Afghan forces and made inroads into Kabul.

According to intelligence assessments, Pakistan’s support to the Haqqani network signals how, through its military intelligence wing, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani military establishment intends to control power.

Sanctions for Pakistan

Twenty-two Republican senators have introduced legislation in the Senate to impose sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan and on all the foreign governments that support the hardline Islamic group that seized power in Kabul. The ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight and Accountability Act’ was introduced by Senator Jim Risch, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reported Bloomberg news.

The legislation also seeks a report from the Secretary of State about his assessment of the role of Pakistan in supporting the Taliban from 2001-2020; in the offensive that led to the toppling of the Government of Afghanistan and the looking into the Pakistan support for Taliban offensive against Panjshir Valley and Afghan resistance.

Pakistan has rarely been sanctioned, despite its having been under global scrutiny for decades, particularly for supporting terror financing and harbouring terrorists, including those sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council. The country has been placed on the precarious greylist by the Financial Action Task Force, the inter-governmental global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. It is expected to comply with measures that counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing but has still not been blacklisted despite several warnings. The country has powerful patrons like China, and till recently, the U.S.

Therefore, though Pakistan is a continuous threat to U.S. foreign policy. It has escaped being sanctioned. In the wake of the attack in Pulwama in February 2019, there are pressures on India to toughen its sanctions regime and consider imposing sanctions on Pakistan.

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CAATSA against Pakistan’s military-industrial complex

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a U.S. federal law that imposes economic sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. The bill came into effect on August 2, 2017, with the intention of countering perceived aggressions against the U.S. government by foreign powers. It accomplishes this goal by preventing U.S. companies from doing business with sanctioned entities.

An Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan Strategic Forum (PSF), was one of the media outlets to report the news with a statement claiming that “the Government of the Argentine Republic has officially included funding for the purchase of 12 PAC JF-17 A Block III fighters in a draft budget for 2022 presented to Argentina’s Parliament.

Martin-Baker Illustration highlighting Sino-Pak JF-17 ejection seat. source Martin-Baker.

The JF-17 fighter jet is fitted with a British-made Martin-Baker ejection seat and a Russian-made RD-93 engine. The RD-93 engine is produced by Russian Klimov subject to CAATSA sanction.

The British-made parts fitted into JF-17 could be sold to Argentina, an adversary of Great Britain. The U.K. previously pressured suppliers to cancel deals with Argentina or sabotaged them by embargoing critical British components. Britain has effectively maintained an arms embargo on Argentina since the 1982 Falklands War.

Britain also effectively vetoed the sale to Argentina of Brazilian license-built Swedish Saab Gripen and Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50 aircraft. And the U.K. stopped the return to Argentinian service of ex-French Super Etendard Modernize strike aircraft by refusing to provide export clearance for British components.

Russian-made RD-93 engine is subject to CAATSA santion.

Under CAATSA, companies found to be knowingly engaging in activities that contribute materially to listed entities will be in violation of trade sanctions. This includes companies exporting goods, services and intellectual property and companies importing goods, wares, merchandise and articles into the U.S. Companies in violation of sanctions are required to institute and maintain robust denied parties screening programs and overall due diligence regarding business with sanctioned entities. This includes assessing and mitigating risks of forced labor, corruption and cybersecurity abuses in supply chains.

Following the sanction move, Pakistan stocks fell nearly 3 per cent on Wednesday while the rupee dropped to a record low. The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange index was last down 1.5 per cent at 44,594 after declining as much as 2.9 per cent earlier in the session.

The rupee reached a historic low of 170.27 (intraday) against the dollar, also weighed down by high demand for the greenback and the situation in Afghanistan, analysts said.

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