Pakistan: Release of nuclear scientist angers Indian government

Islamabad, 6 Feb. (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was released on Friday from house arrest by a Pakistani court, prompting angry reactions by Indian government officials.

"A.Q. Khan's release by Pakistan’s court will be detrimental to global peace and security. Pakistan has deceived India again by setting Khan free," said Indian secretary of external affairs Anand Sharma.

Khan - considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme - was released after striking an out-of-court settlement with the Pakistani government, which also downplayed India's remarks.

"The statement of Indian Secretary External Affairs is nothing but part of India's campaign against Pakistan," said an unnamed ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson.

Following his release, Khan (photo) praised the Pakistani government and armed forces.

“The Pakistani government is strong and the armed forces can tackle anyone, said Khan.

Soon after Khan’s release, hundreds of people gathered and raised slogans in his honour. Among the crowd were Pakistani politicians, religious parties activists, members of the civil society, students and media.

However, the current adviser to Pakistan's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Rehman Malik, said Khan's release took place after obtaining certain guarantees from him, such as:

Not discussing the issue of nuclear proliferation, not to take part in politics nor participate in any political movement.  

Khan - said Malik - shall be given a VVIP (Very Very Important Person) security status and protocol.

According to sources quoted by Adnkronos International (AKI), Khan also shall not be associated with any work, research or assignment related with his field of nuclear technology.

Khan told reporters gathered at his residence that his first visit shall be to his native Karachi, a Pakistani southern port city. He will then go to Saudi Arabia to perform the Muslim pilgrimage, or the Hajj.

Meanwhile, the United States termed the decision of the court as 'unfortunate'. A view echoed by the French foreign ministry.

Britain has urged Pakistan to give International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to the nuclear scientist to know how the nuclear secrets were passed on to Iran and North Korea.


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