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AQ Khan mum on veracity of letter sparking N-row

Last Updated: Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 16:01

Islamabad: Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan has declined to comment on the veracity of a letter he allegedly wrote to his Dutch wife five years ago and whose contents have stirred a fresh controversy about his role in nuclear proliferation.

Excerpts from the letter were recently published by the Sunday Times of London. "I cannot comment on the report of Sunday Times because I have so far not gone through it," Khan said.

"As the matter of my alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation is sub-judice, I cannot comment on the new media report," he told the Dawn newspaper.
Revelations made in the letter prompted an immediate reaction from the US, which said that Khan was still a "risk for proliferation".

According to the Sunday Times, a copy of the four-page letter was also recovered from Khan’s daughter by Dutch intelligence agents in 2004. It claimed that neither the
letter’s recovery nor its contents were reported in the past.

Khan was also reluctant to confirm or deny the contents of the letter.

"I have become tired of clarifying my position, but I know that this is an unending controversy," he said.

In February 2004, three years after his retirement, Khan confessed on national television to having passed on nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He was placed
under house arrest on Feb 1, 2004, by then President Pervez Musharraf.

A Pakistani court last year removed some of the restrictions imposed on Khan following a secret understanding between the scientist and the government. However, he
continues to be guarded by security personnel.

The letter made public by the British newspaper outlines Pakistan’s nuclear cooperation with China, Iran and North Korea, and also mentions cooperation with Libya.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 16:01
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