Pakistan defended nuclear safety after U.S. sanctioned seven companies

Vastavam web: Pakistan has defended its record on nuclear safety after the United States sanctioned seven Pakistani companies over alleged links to the nuclear trade, saying the suspicions over the companies should not be used to discredit it.Ties between the United States and nuclear-armed Pakistan have frayed in recent years over Pakistan’s suspected support for Islamist militants waging war in Afghanistan, something Pakistani officials deny.

The sanctions could complicate Pakistan’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.“Pakistan’s efforts in the area of export controls and non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security are well known. Pakistan and U.S. have a history of cooperation in these areas,” the foreign office said in a statement late on Monday.

“We reject attempts by Pakistan’s detractors to exploit these listings to cast aspersions on Pakistan’s non-proliferation credentials.”The seven privately owned companies, which are little known in Pakistan, are accused of either being involved in “proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities” or helping other Pakistani companies already on the Entity List.Pakistani officials have in the past been accused of handing over nuclear secrets to North Korea. The government has denied the accusations.