Pakistan rejects own scientist's link with nuclear bomb designs

Other News Materials 21 June 2008 00:33 (UTC +04:00)

Pakistan has rubbished news reports that link its disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan with a miniaturized nuclear warhead design found on the computers of Swiss businessman Friedrich Tinner and his sons Marco and Urs.

A Foreign Ministry statement on Friday found the conjecture surprising "as no foreigner has any access to Pakistan's nuclear designs" and said "the entire story raised a number of questions."

"If Tinner's files have relevance to Dr AQ Khan, then why were they destroyed?" the ministry asked.

"The files should have been shared with Pakistan, if they were genuine and relevant to Dr AQ Khan."

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin told reporters in May, after the destruction of the Tinner's computer files was disclosed, that the action had been taken to prevent the information falling "into the hands of a terrorist organisation".

Khan himself, in press interviews, dismissed as "lies" the allegation made by former UN arms inspector David Albright on Monday that he had provided a Swiss smuggling ring with blueprints for an advanced warhead.

Khan has been held incommunicado and under house arrest since early 2004 after he confessed to having had proliferated nuclear technology, but, being a national hero for making Pakistan a nuclear state, he was pardoned for his acts by military President Pervez Musharraf.

But restrictions on him have been eased by the political government elected in February and he has given a number of interviews by telephone.

The ministry statement on Friday said: "Dr AQ Khan's case is closed as he does not have any official status and in no manner whatsoever can he indulge in nuclear proliferation. All relevant information of the case has already been shared with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and there is no new development in this context.", according to dpa.