Rights group to demand A.Q. Khan’s release

June 23rd, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, June 23 (IANS) A rights group is to mount pressure on the government to release from house arrest disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, pointing out that the sentences of all men above 65 had been commuted. “The exact time for the initiation of the movement will be announced in a couple of days,” Dawn Monday quoted Hassamul Haq, who heads the Khan Release Liaison Committee (KRLC) as saying

The committee was formed in 2004 when Khan was put under house arrest but has remained inactive for the last three years.

“We have again entered the arena after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani announced commutation of sentences of all male inmates above 65 and all female prisoners above 60,” committee secretary Shafiqur Rehman said.

Khan, who mentored Pakistan’s nuclear programme, fell from grace after it was revealed he had proliferated the country’s secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

He “confessed” to this on state-run PTV in 2004, following which President Pervez Musharraf “pardoned” him but restricted his movements.

He was seen in public for the first time in four years in April, when he was allowed to visit the laboratory where he previously worked to mourn the death of a colleague.

He has also been allowed to make telephone calls from his residence, which, however continues to be guarded round the clock by heavily armed men.

In interviews since the restrictions on him were eased, Khan has vehemently denied proliferating the country’s secrets, saying he would come out with the truth at the appropriate time.

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