Musharraf lifts restrictions on A Q Khan partially

February 5th, 2008 - 1:40 pm ICT by admin  

Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, Feb.5 (ANI): President Pervez Musharraf has partially lifted restrictions on nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan, allowing him to meet close friends and some old colleagues, Khans former lawyer SM Zafar has claimed.
Zafar said he took up this issue with President Musharraf in the recent past who subsequently issued directives in this regard.
But he said the requests of intending visitors are routed through Lt-Gen (retired) Khalid Qidwai, presently heading the Strategic Planning Division and his department decides who should be granted the permission.
Zafar made the disclosure a day after PML-Q Secretary-General Mushahid Hussain said that the next government would set Dr Khan free. Zafar welcomed Mushahids statement but said he had no background information whether the promise would be met or not. Dr Khan has been under detention for the last 1,443 days.
A family member of Dr Khan, however, said colleagues of the nuclear scientist have not been granted permission to see him. According to a family source, there is a particular list of people who could see Dr Khan and even this list keeps on changing.
The News quoted a family source as saying that Dr Khans daughters, sister (Razia) and brother, Abdul Qayyum, are allowed to meet him.
Both, his sister and brother, live in Karachi. Razia is running a private school and his brother, Abdul Qayyum, is a former banker who was working with Habib Bank Limited.
Other people who could see Dr Khan are his physician, Lt-Gen (retd) Dr Riaz Chohan and two former ambassadors, Amir Usman and Anwar Kamal. Usman has served as Pakistans ambassador to the UAE and Kamal in Egypt.
According to family sources, non-family visitors, even those whose names are included in the list, have to make a request at least two days before the meeting takes place.
The security staff deputed at Dr Khans gate first informs him and if he agrees, the request is forwarded to the Strategic Plan Division for approval.
These visitors are normally allowed in evening, usually on dinners and are allowed to stay with him for less than three hours.
Khan, is widely regarded as the founder of Pakistans nuclear program.
In January 2004, Khan confessed to having been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea. On February 5, 2004, President General Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned Dr. Khan as he was a national hero.
In an August 23, 2005 interview with Kyodo News, Musharraf confirmed that Khan had supplied gas centrifuges and gas centrifuge parts to North Korea and, possibly, an amount of uranium hexafluoride gas.
Khan came under scrutiny following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan to oust the fundamentalist Taliban regime in Afghanistan. It emerged that al-Qaeda had made repeated efforts to obtain nuclear weapons materials to build either a radiological bomb or a crude nuclear bomb. In late October 2001, the Pakistani government arrested three Pakistani nuclear scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected connections with the Taliban.
The Bush administration continued to investigate Pakistani nuclear weapons proliferation, ratcheting up the pressure on the Pakistani government in 2001 and 2002 and focusing on Khan’s personal role. He has been under house arrest since February 2004. (ANI)

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