AQ Khan allowed to attend public functions

Disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan has been allowed by Pakistani authorities to attend public functions.

Islamabad: Disgraced nuclear scientist A Q
Khan has been allowed by Pakistani authorities to attend
public functions after being kept in "protective custody" for
the past six years following his acknowledgment that he ran a
clandestine proliferation network.

Khan attended the convocation of a private university
yesterday and was seen sitting on the dais alongside Education
Minister Aseff Ahmed Ali.

Restrictions on Khan`s movements were lifted by the
Lahore High Court recently.

In recent weeks, he has been seen shopping in Kohsar
Market.

However, he continues to be shadowed by security
personnel who also maintain a watch on his residence in the
heart of Islamabad.

"The court allowed me to move freely but due to old
age and bad health, I spend most of the time at home," Khan
told the media during yesterday`s convocation.

He said the security personnel deployed at his
residence did not allow most people to meet him.

Referring to a disclosure made in secret US diplomatic
cables released by WikiLeaks, Khan denied that he had been
made an offer by the PML-N to become a member of the Senate or
upper house of parliament.

"Neither do I want to become a Senator nor was I
offered to become one," he said.

Khan parried questions about revelations by WikiLeaks
that Western diplomats were concerned about the safety of
Pakistan`s nuclear assets.

Khan was put under house arrest in early 2004 after he
admitted on state-run television to his role in a global
proliferation network.

The government has said that Khan faces a threat to
his life and his movements should be restricted.

One of the cables leaked by WikiLeaks quoted former US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern at
reports that the Pakistan government intended to release Khan
from detention.

Rice directed American diplomats in Pakistan to
pressure authorities to continue with the restrictions imposed
on Khan.

PTI