Pakistan's political parties blamed the country's military regime for fresh US sanctions over alleged missile technology transfers from China, reports said Thursday.
The new US sanctions against Pakistan proves the government's "failure" on diplomatic front, Ahsan Iqbal, a senior official to deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML) was quoted as telling The News.
Sharif was ousted in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in October last year. Musharraf has vowed to stamp out corruption and revive the economy before stepping aside after general elections by October 2002.
The paper quoted Iqbal as flaying a recent international arms show in the southern port city of Karachi, aimed at attracting buyers for Pakistani weapons and defense equipment.
"There should have been an international textile exhibition, rather than defense one which gave a hostile outlook of Pakistan," Iqbal said.
The United States on Tuesday slapped sanctions against Pakistan and Iran after accusing them of receiving missile technology from China, but lifted similar curbs on Beijing.
The two-year ban on the import of certain US technologies was imposed against the defense ministry and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) in Pakistan.
Pakistan's foreign office criticized the ban as "unwarranted and unjustified" and expressed hope that the US would review the decision and remove the latest sanctions as well as those it imposed on many Pakistani civilian facilities two years ago.
Pakistan has been under US sanctions since 1990 over its nuclear program when Washington clamped an embargo on military sales and stopped the delivery of 28 F-16 planes purchased by Islamabad in 1989.
In 1998 the United States slapped further military sanctions on Pakistan after it conducted nuclear tests in response to similar detonations by India.
Expressing concern over the new curbs former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said "the imposition of missile sanctions can only make our country more isolated."
"A democratic Pakistan enhances the international reputation of our country enabling it to make better diplomatic efforts to secure its position in the world community," said Bhutto, who lives in self-exile in London, in a statement.
Pakistan's foreign office said Tuesday "the US has never provided any evidence of the alleged transfer nor did it discuss the matter with Pakistan in the recent past."
"Pakistan has an indigenous missile development program which is a part of our nuclear deterrent and indispensable to our security," it said – ISLAMABAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)