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Dr. Khan in Pakistan, the Main Culprit of Spreading Nuclear Weapons Technology

Dr. Khan in Pakistan, the Main Culprit of Spreading Nuclear Weapons Technology

Posted January. 19, 2004 23:27,   


There have been mounting global concerns over the suspected transfer of nuclear information and equipments from Pakistan to North Korea, Iran, and Libya, and now the investigation is focusing on a Pakistani nuclear expert.

The father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan(69), is at the center of the global concerns. The international community seems to be certain that he is the main culprit of the nuclear proliferation.

The Investigation is Going On—

The Financial Times said on Monday that Islam-ul Haq, who served as the principal secretary to Dr. Khan, has been detained over the possible transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.

Pakistan has allowed U.S. information officials to participate in the nuclear program investigations launched last December in an effort to show the world that Pakistan has not been officially involved in nuclear proliferation. Six scientists and intelligence agents were questioned last month, and Mr. Khan was reportedly interrogated as well.

The Associated Press said that the arrest of Asher Karni, who has Israeli nationality and was accused of smuggling nuclear bomb triggers to Pakistan, deepened suspicions of the country`s involvement in the nuclear black market.

Main Culprit —

The latest issue of Time Magazine reported that Pakistan and the U.S. are identifying Mr. Khan as the mastermind of spreading nuclear technology to other nations. They have reached an interim conclusion that Mr. Khan and his aides transferred nuclear information to other countries in the interest of money or Islamic causes.

Dr. Khan worked at a Europe-based laboratory which had successfully completed uranium enrichment technology by using sophisticated centrifuge. When Dr. Khan returned home in 1976, he secretly brought the draft of the centrifuge and then established a laboratory to localize the technology. In 1998, Pakistan successfully conducted its underground test of the Islamic world’s first nuclear bomb.

The U.S. intelligence bureau believes Dr. Khan supplied nuclear components by using bogus companies and middlemen. Dr. Khan is reported to have visited Pyongyang ten times and Iranian nuclear facilities several times.

Punishment for Dr. Khan is Unlikely —

Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday the country must convince the world that Pakistan is not a proliferator of nuclear weapons. However, the investigation into Dr. Khan’s involvement in the nuclear transfer is likely to end in smoke because the arrest of Dr. Khan, who has been lionized as a national hero, would infuriate Islamic extremists or military regime in the region.

In an attempt to gain consistent support from Pakistan in the war on terrorism, the U.S. seems to be satisfied with Pakistan’s denial of any official involvement in sharing technology with other nations. Dr. Khan has claimed that he has approved his aides’ visits to North Korea, Iran, and Libya, but he had no idea that his aides might secretly trade its nuclear program. Time Magazine said that the U.S. intends to block Dr. Khan’s activities, curbing the possible leak of the nuclear information to other nations in the future.

Jin Lee leej@donga.com