Q Khan: Father of nuclear proliferation
Dr A Q Khan be tried for
allegedly transferring nuclear knowledge to Iran, Libya and North
Korea? Should Musharraf and Vajpayee be honored with the Nobel Peace
Prize? Has India acknowledged Kashmir as a disputed territory? These
were hottest topics of informal discussions at the 55th Republic Day
popular perception about the future of Dr A Q Khan---the so-called
Father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb is, no action could be taken
against him because he is a national hero as well as a holy cow. No
government-civil or military-can show the audacity of proceeding
against him even if he is found guilty. The Musharraf-regime will
just invite some dangerous troubles for it by doing so.
political expert went to the extent of commenting: 'Dr A Q Khan will
still go down in the annals of history as a hero even if he is
tried. And those who will try him will meet the fate of General
Zia-ul-Haq, whose reputation is that of a notorious dictator these
A votary of Bhutto took it as his 'moral' duty to contested this
claim. 'There is no greater hero in Pakistan than Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto. He was the real Father of Pakistan's Nuclear Bomb. If he
could be assassinated `through judiciary', why can't A Q Khan be
highly reliable source told this correspondent that Dr A Q Khan is
the key suspect of the probe regarding transfer of nuclear
technology. 'Pakistan would not be able to withstand the
international pressure of putting A Q Khan under trial if he was
source also disclosed the Khan's name has been put in the Exit
Control List [ECL] and he can't leave the country. No one is allowed
to meet him. When this correspondent checked this with the Federal
Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat he denied it. But the ground
reality is, Khan is under house arrest and is being interrogated.
Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan had to conform in the weekly
press briefing on Jan 27 that questions are being asked by Khan.
Commenting further on how difficult it would be for the government
to proceed against Khan, the source said: 'If Pakistan could change
on one telephone call its 22-year old Afghan policy and ditch its
'sons' the Taliban, one could himself assess how difficult it would
be for the establishment to rid Dr Khan!'
believe that Dr Khan cannot be made a scapegoat because this could
provoke the public sentiments. This could be proven wrong with
Pakistan's political history. I remember when Z A Bhutto was awarded
death sentence, jialas [his political workers] said: 'Agar Bhutto ko
phansi dee gayee to hum khoon ki naddiyan baha daingay!' [If Bhutto
were hanged, streets of Pakistan will be bathed with blood.] But
nothing happened. People of this country have a very short memory!'
the source said.
correspondent had interviewed Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri just
before the 12th SAARC Summit and raised the same question i.e. will
Pakistan take action against Dr Khan if he was found guilty?
Kasuri's response was that whosoever was found guilty will be dealt
with according to the law of the land. When this correspondent
emphasized: 'Even Mohsin-e-Pakistan?' he said: 'Everyone who was
gullible masses consider Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan a nuclear
scientist-without knowing that he is a metallurgist and as such has
little contribution in making a nuclear bomb. Albeit, the naïve
public considers him the 'Father' of the Pakistani nuclear bomb and
Mohsin-e-Pakistan-a highly misleading impression.
I recognize Dr Khan as a person who is polluting the freshwater of
Rawal Lake-an artificial reservoir of water that supplies drinking
water to thousands of citizens of Rawalpindi, a city adjoining the
capital Islamabad. Dr Khan has constructed a house on the bank of
the Lake. The sewerage pipelines of his bungalow discharge waste
into the freshwater of the Lake. Moreover, it is alleged that Dr
Khan's house at the Lake is the gross violation of the building
rules of the Capital Development Authority [CDA]. As a matter of
fact, the CDA, years ago, had initiated a demolition operation
against the illegal construction in Bani Gala [name of the place
where Dr Khan has constructed his bungalow.] The operation was
halted-all of a sudden-and it is reportedly said that it happened
due to the clout of Dr Khan with the establishment. So, how could a
polluter be a Mohsin-e-Pakistan!
close friends of Dr Khan present at the Republic day told this
correspondent that Dr Khan could not have transferred the nuclear
technology, could not have done so at his own. He must have acted on
the establishment's orders. They believe that Dr Khan has been made
a scapegoat. Such a fear had also been expressed by a right-wing
publication Nawai Waqt in one of its editorials. Nawai Waqt is
perhaps the greatest fan of the so-called 'Father' of Pakistan's
nuclear bomb. Dr Khan's daughter has also raised similar
apprehensions while speaking to the media. She was quoted as saying
that the establishment was trying to find a scapegoat in his father.
above argument is supported by an expert-Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy,
professor of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University. 'The transfer of
such material [nuclear technology] is impossible without explicit
permission from the security apparatus that constantly surrounds the
nuclear establishment, installations and personnel.'
were more sympathetic towards Musharraf than Vajpayee on the
question of a possible Nobel Peace Prize. The reason was the Gujarat
carnage that had diminished Vajpayee's chances of winning the Prize.
'To talk peace for Musharraf is more difficult because he is a
military man. Moreover, he has shown more flexibility towards India
than Vajpayee. India has literally shown no flexibility towards
Pakistan,' commented a diplomat.
to Abbas Ansari of Hurriyat, the Indian leadership had acknowledged
Kashmir as a dispute between Indian and Pakistan in Jan 22 parleys
with Hurriyat. Whereas, the Indian foreign minister Yashwant Sinha
had said in the US that Kashmir was an integral part of India. In
this backdrop, this correspondent tried to sort out some Indians.
'We don't respond to statements,' was the answer.
55th Republic Day was observed as a Black Day by the rightwing
elements in Pakistan. But to one's utter surprise, it was a very
well attended function. Politicians from all major political parties
including the alliance of six-pro Taliban religious parties
Muttehida Majlis-e-Amal [MMA] attended it. The only complaint the
Indians made was none of the services chief of Pakistan attended the
author is Islamabad based special correspondent of Kashmir
Images -- courtesy of which this article appears here.