Jail Nuclear Peddle Khan

aq-khanAbdul Qadeer Khan the well-know nuclear secrets peddler of Pakistan is totally free now. After five years of house arrest under the pressure from USA administration, then President Prevez Mushraff kept him inside. Khan seems to have sold nuclear bomb components and its formula to Iran, North Korea and other rogue states. He also had clandestine relations with the top leadership of Al Qaeda. No one knows the logic behind the release of notorious nuclear proliferators. It sounds death bells to the south Asian security in particular and world in general. A.Q. Khan should be tried by the international court and punished for the violation of international order on nuclear weapons. K. Subrahmanyam writes in The Times of India (9.2.2009, p.16) “Khan was a nuclear spy who was able to obtain the centrifuge technology and the list of contractors from Dutch facilities and transfer them to Pakistan. According to the former Dutch prime minister, Rudd Lubbers, Khan was detained twice by Dutch authorities, once in the 1970s and again in the 1980s. On both occasions he was let off after the CIA intervened. In late 1980s, Richard Barlow, a assembled its nuclear weapon in transgression of the Pressler Amendment. At that stage, Pakistan was not taken to task but instead Barlow was punished for a wrong analysis; he had to fight for two decades to clear his name. The connection between Khan and the CIA is a mystery just as the American permissiveness about China conducting a nuclear test on behalf of Pakistan on May 26, 1990. This has now been confirmed by Thomas Reed and Danny Stillman of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in a recent book. In the 1950s, Ethel and Julius Roosenberg were executed for their help to the Soviet Union in the development of nuclear weapons. Alan Nunn May and Klaus Fuchs were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for what would today be called nuclear proliferation activity. They all acted out of ideological allegiances just as Khan claimed that his proliferation was to Islamic states out of good faith. Khan’s case is unique in that he had played an active role both in inward proliferation into Pakistan and outward proliferation from Pakistan. Khan being freed under an agreement with the Zardari government raises several issues. Benazir Bhutto in an interview in the US before her return to Pakistan had promised that if she became prime minister she would permit both Washington and the International Atomic Energy Agency to have access to Khan. In an interview she had disclosed details about the Pakistani nuclear enrichment technology exchange with North Korean missile technology. Now Benazir’s husband, as president of Pakistan has entered into an agreement to set Khan free. Given the past American tolerance of Pakistani proliferation and Khan’s activities, is the Obama administration a party to the present arrangement previous US administrations were? What kind of message will this send to Iran and other countries? Asif Zardari and General Ashfaq Kayani were in a position to continue the Musharraf-Bush humanitarian and health grounds. But they have choosen to free him on the basis of a mutual agreement which blows up the credibility of the earlier arrangement by indicating that Khan has things to disclose which could embarrass Pakistan. In a sense, Khan emerges as a hero whose proliferation was sanctioned. This is a defiance of the international community by Pakistan. It will mean that Khan cannot be blamed since he acted with the approval of past Pakistani regimes and the world is in no position to pressure the present Pakistani government as the international community needs their help. The way in which the Khan case is going to be handled will give a clear indication of whether the civilian government in Pakistan wants to break with the past. The chances are the Zardari government will opt for continuing past policies as it have done in respect of permissiveness towards jihadis. The timing of this agreement and the court order is also significant. It comes in the wake of nuclear saber-rattling by sections of Pakistanis following the 26/11 Mumbai attack. It also comes on the eve of the visit of US special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, to Pakistan. Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal had been the subject of wide coverage in the US media in recent weeks. This may be Pakistan’s way of reminding the international community, ahead of the donor nations’ meeting, that it cannot be allowed to fail and that Islamabad is capable of taking a defiant stand. The US is in a position similar to early 1980s. It was prepared to sacrifice its non proliferation policy to enlist Pakistani support for the mujahideen campaign against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Now it may have to sacrifice its missile defence and NATO expansion policies to have logistics facilities via Russia and Central Asia to deal with the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The slap in the face for Americans implied in freeing Khan via a secret agreement makes it all the more imperative for US to make every effort to secure the Russian and Central Asian routes to complete their task in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. Under these circumstances it is not advisable to let A.Q. Khan roam freely. The deadly network of Al Qaeda, ISI, A.Q. Khan and the nuclear black marketers can damage the world peace. The window dressing to Khan issue does not augur well. All the governments especially USA, India and Pakistan should end his hidden death blow permanently.


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