Pakistan’s support to the belligerent hermit kingdom continues unabated.
Following on the heels of ANI’s report of June 22, 2016 which reported that Pakistan sold restricted nuclear material ‘Monel’ and ‘Inconel’ to North Korea, now, new data from leading flight tracking service ‘FlightRadar24’ and a news agency UPI dispatch shows that Air Koryo used Islamabad as a refuelling point on its onward journey to Kuwait.
According to the latest UN Security Council resolution 2270 that was passed in March of this year, the screening of all cargo onboard Air Koryo flights is imperative and export of aviation fuel and rocket fuel is to be banned with immediate effect.
In addition to this, the UNSC panel of experts said in a 2014 report, “UN member states should be aware that providing financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, maintenance or use of Air Koryo’s aircraft could constitute a violation of the embargo on all arms and related material.”
In light of these guidelines issued by the UN, Pakistan’s continued support to the World’s worst airline, ranked so for a fifth year in a row, may amount to a violation of UNSC resolutions.
It is also important to note that Pakistan has gone on an overdrive campaign with the international community to accept its membership in the NSG, while at the same time providing nuclear technology, and now, refuelling support to the national carrier of North Korea.
Air Koryo JS 161 flight to Kuwait which had a stopover in Pakistan on May 17, 2016 was dispatched to pick up North Korean forced labourers working in Kuwait who were protesting Pyongyang’s refusal to pay salaries.
Their fate remains unknown.
Recently, a VICE Media documentary highlighted the plight of North Korean forced workers in Poland.
The workers did not receive pay, worked inhuman hours and had no contact with their families back home.
Stringent international sanctions have had an effect on the functioning of the dictatorship with overseas workers particularly feeling the heat.
North Korean diplomats around the world resort to selling contraband to earn foreign exchange for their country, for example, multiple instances have been reported by the Pakistani media of North Korean diplomats using their diplomatic immunity and consular vehicles to run an alcohol trade which is banned in Pakistan.
With these revelations coming to light, and Pakistan’s nuclear largesse to North Korea, Air Koryo’s use of Islamabad as a transit point does raise red flags.