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.

PTI

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