Pak court reserves judgement on petition on AQ Khan

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 20:30

Lahore: A Pakistani court on Wednesday reserved
its judgement on a government petition seeking permission to
question disgraced nuclear scientist A Q Khan over media
reports about his alleged role in transferring sensitive
atomic technology to Iran and Iraq.

A bench of the Lahore High Court, which is hearing the
matter, also deferred for the third time its judgment on a
government petition asking the court to impose restrictions on
the free movement of Khan and his interaction with the media.

The bench said it would rule on the matter on March
29.
The High Court said it would give its verdict on the
same day on the government`s fresh application to question
Khan about claims he made regarding Pakistan arranging the
transfer of nuclear technology to Iran and Iraq.

The claims were made in an account allegedly written
by Khan that was the basis of two reports published recently
in The Washington Post.

The articles in The Washington Post said Khan had
tried to help Iran and Iraq develop nuclear weapons. Those
deals allegedly occurred with the knowledge of the Pakistan
government, the reports said.

The federal government said in its fresh application
that even while the earlier case was pending in court and
despite denials by Khan, The Washington Post published reports
on March 10 and 14 in which the authors named the scientist as
the basic source of information.

The authors also expressly mentioned that journalist
Simon Henderson had been engaged in unauthorised communication
with Khan.

The government said the contents of the two articles
had national security implications for Pakistan as they
contained allegations related to the nuclear programme and
nuclear cooperation.

Further, the articles were an attempt to affect
friendly ties with Iran and Iraq, the government`s lawyer told
the court.
"There is a conspiracy against Pakistan`s strategic
interests and it is necessary to unearth it and take urgent
measures in this regard," the lawyer told the bench.

The reports in The Washington Post said Iran tried to
buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan in the late 1980s.

The reports further said Pakistan instead gave Iran
bomb-related drawings and other nuclear technology. Khan was
put under house arrest after he confessed on state-run
television in early 2004 to operating a proliferation network
that spread nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea
and Libya.

He has since retracted that statement and Pakistan has
refused to allow international investigators to question Khan.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 20:30

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