Lahore: Disgraced nuclear scientist A Q
Khan is a "free citizen", a Pakistan court declared today and
ruled that authorities cannot not restrict his movements or
activities within the country.
Acting on a petition filed by Khan challenging
restrictions imposed on him by the government, Justice Ijaz
Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court declared him a "free
Khan can move freely within Pakistan, the judge said.
"(Khan) can move freely and continue his activities,"
Justice Chaudhry said while wrapping up the hearing of Khan`s
While holding the authorities responsible for
providing security to the scientist, the judge directed the
government to implement an agreement with Khan on his
movements in "letter and spirit".
The government`s lawyer assured the court that this
agreement would be implemented.
Justice Chaudhry directed the Attorney General, the
federal government`s top legal officer, to remain in contact
with Khan in order to address his grievances and to ensure his
In an earlier hearing, Khan`s counsel Syed Ali Zafar
had told the court that the government was illegally
restricting the scientist`s movements in the name of security.
Zafar claimed an agreement signed by the government
and Khan during the tenure of former Attorney General Anwar
Mansoor had been violated.
Talking to reporters outside his heavily guarded
residence in Islamabad after the court gave its ruling, Khan
said: "Let`s see if the verdict is implemented. If it is not,
I will take action for contempt of court."
Khan was put under house arrest in early 2004 after he
admitted on state-run TV to running a clandestine nuclear
He later recanted that confession, saying it was made
under pressure from the regime of former military ruler Pervez
The Pakistan People`s Party-led government eased
restrictions on Khan after coming to power in 2008 though
military authorities continue to keep a close eye on the
Pakistan has also refused to give international
investigators access to Khan, saying his activities are a
Khan has gone to court several times in the past two
years to challenge restrictions on his movements.
Today`s court verdict on Khan came even as Pakistan
observed the 12th anniversary of its nuclear tests of May
"The tests were conducted 12 years ago but I had
informed (former military ruler) Zia-ul-Haq on December 10,
1984 that we could conduct (the nuclear) tests at a week’s
notice," Khan told reporters.
India conducted its nuclear tests in May 1998 and
"Pakistan was forced to conduct tests in response", he said.
The atomic blasts established a balance of power, he
"We have only one enemy India which wants to
attack us and destroy us. But there is no danger that any
country (can attack us or that) something like 1971 can happen
again," Khan said, referring to the creation of Bangladesh out
of East Pakistan in 1971.
Khan also criticised Pakistan`s current leaders,
saying they had not taken advantage of the defence
capabilities created by nuclear scientists to put the country
on the path to progress and development.