Pakistani nuclear scientist released from house arrest

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr A.Q.Khan
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Last Friday, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, was freed from detention. Khan was detained under house arrest since 2004, he made a televised confession of selling nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He is widely regarded as the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, and most famous as a national hero.

Dr. Qadeer filed a petition at the Islamabad High Court against the government, to address his detention and house arrest. He was freed and now lives as a "free citizen," but the terms upon which he and the government agreed remain secret.

He sent his regards to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, and the Interior Adviser, and thanked them for their stance opposing his detention.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "very much concerned" about Khan's release. One of the spokesmen, Gordon Duguid, said Khan "remains a serious proliferation risk" and releasing him would be "extremely regrettable". Gillani has rejected such remarks, saying that Dr. Qadeer's network has been dismantled and said that he has been released under Court orders.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tried to calm international worries. He reiterated that Khan's network had been broken up and said that the government reserves the right to appeal the court's ruling.

Khan, who is now 72 years old and has received treatment for prostate cancer, told reporters that he was finished with nuclear work and plans to devote himself to education.


Sources

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