Pioneers in nuclear proliferation
Pakistan has been under the microscope for its involvement in
the development of nuclear weapons programs internationally.
Although others such “axis of evil” nations Iran and North Korea
actively purse weapons of mass destruction their success has largely
been dependent on Pakistan’s inadvertent assistance and
founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has
admitted he transferred nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North
Korea, a Pakistani government official stated. Khan made the
confession in a written statement submitted "a couple of days
ago" to investigators probing allegations of nuclear
proliferation by Pakistan, the official told The Associated Press on
condition on anonymity.
transfers were made during the late 1980s and in the early and mid
1990 s, and were motivated by "personal greed and
ambition," the official said. The official could not give
details of the nuclear transfers, but said they were not authorized
by the government.
meeting of the National Command Authority that controls Pakistan's
nuclear assets was briefed on the statement at a meeting when Khan -
long regard ed as a national hero in Pakistan - was sacked from his
position as a scientific adviser to the Prime Minister. A military
official briefed a number of Pakistani journalists about Khan's
had previously been reported as denying any wrongdoing. The
government official who spoke to AP was familiar with the briefing.
The government official said the two-month probe into the
proliferation allegations had reached its conclusion, but said it
was up to the authority to decide whether to prosecute Khan and six
other suspects in the case.
Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who heads the authority, is due to make an
address to the nation about the progress of the investigation after
the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, which
ends Thursday in Pakistan, officials said. Pakistan began its
investigation in November after revelations by Iran to the
International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
of nuclear transfers to Libya and North Korea have also surfaced.
The government official said that "questions have been
put" to two former army chiefs, Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg and Gen.
Jehangir Karamat, to check information provided by Khan and other
suspects during the "debriefings" - as the government has
referred to the questioning of scientists.
official stressed that the two generals were not the focus of the
investigation. He said they told investigators they never authorized
nuclear transfers. However, the official said the probe had
concluded there had been a lapse in security that allowed the
transfers to take place, although no blame had been
say that many unanswered questions remain over how powerful generals
who oversaw the Pakistan's nuclear program that began in the 1970s -
wit h the aim of creating a military deterrent against rival India -
could have been so in the dark about any nuclear transfers by its
mission to create the bomb was conducted in secret, using black
market suppliers to circumvent international restrictions on trade
in nuclear-related technology. Pakistan conducted its first nuclear
test in 1998.
all, 11 employees of the Khan Research Laboratories, a top nuclear
facility named after Khan, have been questioned since November, and
some subsequently released. Officials say that three scientists and
four security officials - military officers among them - are still
being investigated. Six are held in custody in an undisclosed
location. Khan has been told to stay at his Islamabad home, where he
is guarded with tight security.
wittingly or unwittingly, Pakistan bears responsibility for the act
ions and deeds of its top nuclear scientists who have promoted the
proliferation of nuclear weapons programs and weapons of mass
destruction internationally; especially with those “axis of
evil” nations Iran, North Korea and former wannabe Libya much to
the detriment of global and regional security and stability solely
for economic profit. Africa, Asia and the Middle East are now in
great danger and face risk of escalation of war as a direct
Pakistan may not be able to undo the damage done due to insufficient
safeguards it must punish those guilty of taking advantage of their
position and power.
is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with
emphasis on Middle East affairs.