Not in touch with Taliban: A.Q. KhanFebruary 20th, 2009 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Feb 20 (IANS) Pakistan’s disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, who was accused of running an illegal proliferation network, Friday dismissed reports that he was in touch with the Taliban who are reported to be making efforts to acquire a dirty bomb.
“No, there is no substance to these reports,” Khan, who was earlier this month released from five years of house arrest, told an Indian TV news channel.
“I have never met anybody,” he added.
“No further comments,” he replied tersely when asked a second time if the Taliban had made contact with him.
Khan had been put under house arrest in 2004 after confessing on state-run PTV to illegally selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea and sought the nation’s forgiveness. Then president Pervez Musharraf did “forgive” him but restricted his movements.
The Islamabad High Court had Feb 6 declared Khan a “free man” and released him from house arrest but it later emerged that this was conditional as his movements continue to be restricted.
A day after the judgement, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi described Khan as “history” and said the proliferation network he had established had been “successfully broken”.
“We have successfully broken the network that he had set up and today he has no say and has no access to any of the sensitive areas of Pakistan,” Qureshi maintained.
Khan, who was seen in public for the first time in four years in May 2008, said his confession had been handed to him by authorities and he was forced to read it on national television in the “best interest of the nation”.
Right from the time of Khan’s confession, the US has been persistently demanding permission to question him on his alleged proliferation activities. Pakistan has been equally consistent in denying this permission.
The US and other Western nations have also expressed apprehensions on the scientists’ release from house arrest.
Tags: apprehensions, best interest, confession, dirty bomb, foreign minister, forgiveness, free man, indian tv, islamabad, judgement, national television, north korea, nuclear scientist, nuclear secrets, pervez musharraf, president pervez musharraf, proliferation activities, release from house arrest, sensitive areas, taliban