A.Q. Khan allowed to move within PakistanJuly 21st, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, July 21 (IANS) The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday allowed disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who pioneered Pakistan’s nuclear programme, to move within the country but asked him not to speak to the media. Justice Sardar Aslam in his short order said Khan is allowed to travel within Pakistan to meet his relatives and family members but after security clearance.
“Dr. A.Q. Khan will be allowed to meet his close relatives and friends subject to security clearance and necessary precautions… taken in regard to security and safety which is of paramount importance,” the court order said.
But the court said that Khan “will not give interviews to any channel, to a news reporter from a print or electronic media in any manner whatsoever in respect of the issue of proliferation”.
The court said Khan will be allowed to select his doctors and no doctor will be imposed on him. It also allowed the nuclear scientist to visit the Pakistan Science Foundation as and when he feels so but under government security.
Khan’s wife, through a family friend Barrister Iqbal Jaferi, had moved the newly-formed high court against his detention and restriction on freedom to move.
Khan has been under virtual house arrest since February 2004 when speaking on a state television he took responsibility for nuclear proliferation and apologized to the nation.
Soon after the court decision, Jaferi announced he would file a review petition in the same court after obtaining a certified copy of the the ruling.
“I am not satisfied with the decision and would certainly file a review petition in the same court,” he told reporters outside the high court.
He said that at least now this was established that Khan was under arrest though the government had maintained he was under protective custody.
In the same court, another petition by Khan’s wife is pending in which she has requested the court to order setting up of an independent commission to fix the responsibility for nuclear proliferation which “falsely has been blamed” on her husband.
Earlier this year, Khan said he had been forced to read an already written statement provided by President Pervez Musharraf’s aides in the name of national interest.
Earlier this month, Khan in a media interview said Pakistan had sent centrifuges to North Korea under the supervision of Musharraf and secret agents though the remark was strongly refuted by the government quarters.
A group of US Senators recently demanded interrogation of Khan by US authorities over allegations of nuclear proliferation but the government rejected it. The foreign office spokesman said there was no chance of handing Khan over to any other country.