Pak mulls legal clampdown on AQ Khan: Report
Last Updated: Sunday, January 17, 2010, 21:52
Islamabad: The Pakistan government is set to clampdown on disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan, amid growing worry over his recent disclosures about the country's atomic weapons, a media report said on Sunday.

The government has decided to show zero tolerance to Khan for allegedly disclosing state secrets in his interaction with foreign journalists, local media and through public speeches in "breach" of an undertaking to the court.

A high-level meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and attended by top military brass and legal experts, looked into the issue, The News daily reported today.

The government is in no mood to take the issue lightly, which can be gauged from the fact that the meeting was attended by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Director General of ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Tariq Majid and others, it said.

Based on discussions with the participants, the daily said the security establishment was deeply perturbed over Khan’s activities and the government feels his "irresponsible" statements could put Pakistan in an awkward and embarrassing situation.

The meeting decided that Khan would be reined in through legal means by pleading before the court to hold the disgraced scientist accountable for "violating the undertaking given by him to the court", the report said.

The Attorney General had been tasked to take up the matter before the court, sources told the newspaper.

In a four-page letter, published by The Washington Post, the Pakistani scientist had described about the illegal transfer of nuclear know-how's to China, North Korea and Iran. It has become a constant source of sensational stories put up by the foreign media, particularly in the western countries.

As far as the terms of freedom granted to Khan by the court, it required strict adherence to the annexure 'A' attached with the verdict, the Pakistani daily said.

According to the annexure, Khan is forbidden from communicating with foreign journalists. Besides, he cannot address public gatherings.

"Dr Khan should refrain from exploiting specific media personnel to influence public opinion on various national or international issues without the government clearance," the daily quoted the annexure as saying.

It also makes it compulsory on Khan to join "the pending inquiry/investigation on proliferation as and when required by the competent officials".

"He is also directed to return any material or document etc on Pakistan's nuclear programme in his control, if any," it said.

Khan in a recent interview with a local channel defended the sharing of nuclear technology with friendly countries. The revelation has caused embarrassment to the government and many in the Pakistani establishment feel it could be used step up pressure on the country.

However, the Prime Minister's spokesman said Khan’s issue was not under discussion during his presence in the top meeting, which discussed the strategic balance in the region.


First Published: Sunday, January 17, 2010, 21:52

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