14:38 GMT13 April 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Pakistani nationals were accused of operating a front company called Business World based in Rawalpindi. They have been charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Export Control Reform Act.

    The US Department of Justice has confirmed the indictment of five Pakistan-origin persons for allegedly running an illegal international network that purchased American products for Islamabad’s nuclear weapon programme.

    The Justice Department said on Thursday that the accused are presently living in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.

    The announcement evoked a wave of strong reactions on social media on Friday.

    A group of netizens expressed alarm over the development, with one of them warning of a terrorist attack taking place in the near future:

    Another group of netizens said they were not surprised by the development and predicted that no action would be taken against Pakistan. One even described the announcement as fake news.

    The five persons indicted by a grand jury last October were identified as Muhammad Kamran Wali, Muhammad Ahsan Wali, Haji Wali Muhammad Sheikh, Ashraf Khan Muhammad, and Ahmed Waheed.

    The US Department of Justice said they haven’t been apprehended as yet and warrants for their arrest are pending.

    US Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement on Thursday said: “The defendants smuggled US-origin goods to entities that have been designated for years as threats to US national security for their ties to Pakistan’s weapons programmes".

    “It posed a potential threat to the national security interests of the United States and to the delicate balance of power among nations within the region", AFP quoted Jason Molina, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, as saying.

    According to the indictment, between September 2014 and October 2019, the five procured US goods without export licenses for Pakistan’s Advanced Engineering Research Organisation and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.


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