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Q&A With A.Q. Khan

Father of the Islamic bomb.

11:00 PM, Jan 26, 2009 • By URS GEHRIGER
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A: I have had many safari suits made from Good Looks Tailors. They were delivered to me in 4-foot long zipper bags with a see-through panel in the front. Many of these suits I took to Dubai with me, but I NEVER carried them by hand. They were always put in my suitcase and left at the apartment in Dubai where I had one room for my use. Is carrying a clothing bag such an unusual event, even had it taken place, that it should be noticed by ISI agents? If they knew about the bags, wouldn't they also be able to find out to whom they were given? If I was carrying such sensitive documents, would it not have made more sense to carry them in a briefcase, sports bag or such like? If we read the book "DECEPTION - Pakistan, the U.S. and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons" written by Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark we see on page 375: "......In the early hours of 12 December 2003, as the M16-CIA team walked out to their unmarked plane at Tripoli airport, Libyan officials rushed on to the tarmac. They handed over half a dozen brown envelopes. Inside one were blueprints for a nuclear bomb. Another contained instructions on how to manufacture and assemble a device". Then on page 383, the authors write: "In a bizarre ceremony that took place in a meeting room of the Libyan National Board of Scientific Research in late January 2004, 'Triple M' emerged with all of the nuclear warhead blueprints, schematics and manuals that Libya had bought from Pakistan. He handed them over to the IAEA, stuffed into a plastic bag emblazoned with the logo of a well-known Islamabad gentleman's outfitter - Good Looks Fabrics and Tailors". If we are talking about FACTUAL events, would there be such disparity in the handing over of such important information?

Q: Who wrote the words that you spoke in your televised apology in February 2004? In that statement you used the words "in good faith". What did you mean by them?

A: The statement was prepared by the SPD and thrust into my hands to read. I immediately realised that it was mischievous to put all the blame solely on me. The Attorney General, Makhdoom Ali Khan, who was present, had the statement saved on his laptop. I refused to read it out as it was and insisted that the words "I did it in good faith" be inserted. These words carried a lot of weight and meaning to the whole world. One doesn't do anything wrong "in good faith". This saved my reputation, as was later reiterated in an article by Mr. Roedad Khan.

Q: Is it true that the script originally stated the words "error of judgement" but you exchanged them with "in good faith"?

A: Yes, that is correct. I changed them because the two phrases have totally different meanings. "In good faith" meant that what I had done was with the conviction that I was not doing anything wrong. Later statements on TV by former army chief, Gen.(R) Aslam Beg, Gen. Faiz Ali Chishti, Gen. Hamid Gul, Gen. Abdul Qayum, Mr. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, former Law Minister, Mr. S.M. Zafar and a former Secretary General of the Interior Minister, Mr. Roedad Khan, that I had not done anything wrong, clearly vindicated my position.

Q: On October 16, 2008 you wrote in a letter to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Pervez Musharraf had forced you to take the responsibility of nuclear proliferation on state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) in the name of national interest. You wrote that you were told that "we are doing this only to show to the Americans" and that you would be free after three to four months. Why do you think this promise was broken?

A: Because he was a characterless dictator acting under threats from Armitage, Bush, etc. and because he was afraid of what I might reveal. That is also the reason behind the Islamabad High Court's decision prohibiting me from talking about any nuclear matters or my subsequent debriefing. Gen.(R) Kidwai, DG SPD and his wife came to see us in April 2004 and told me that everything would be over in 3 to 4 months, after which I would be able to lead a normal life. That turned out to be a blatant lie. Now, 5 years later, I am still under house arrest I was made a scapegoat by Gen.(R) Musharraf. Many former generals and civilian authorities have openly said on TV that I did not do anything wrong. I was not involved in any unauthorized activities and there NEVER EVER was a question of money-making.

Q: Talking to journalists last July your counsel, Iqbal Jaffrey, urged the government to amicably resolve Dr. Khan's issue, otherwise several "dignitaries" would be exposed and it would open up a Pandora's Box. What "dignitaries" did he mean and what would be the content that would expose them?

A: Only Mr. Jaffrey could answer that question completely. I guess he meant that the truth could hurt many people and the government and prove that they were not as innocent as they were claiming to be.

Q: Your case has not yet been resolved amicably by the government. Do you see any chance that this will happen in the near future under the Zardari government? What will your next action be in order for this to happen?

A: At present my lawyer has initiated a case in the Islamabad High Court on my behalf. Let's wait and see what happens.

Q: Do you consider talking to representatives of the IAEA sometime in the future?

A: Pakistan was not, and is not, a signatory to the NPT, so why should Pakistan be answerable to them?

Q: In an interview with Al Hayat Newspaper on 8th January 2008, Mohammed Al-Bradei, director of IAEA said: "He (Khan) admitted to being part of the nuclear network and we conducted numerous interviews with most of its members. Many of them were part of a commercial enterprise, but I believe that Khan had ideological motives. He believed that he succeeded in neutralizing the Indian program by launching the Pakistani program as a parallel to the Indian program. He was trying to repeat the same success between the Israeli program and other Arab and Islamic programs." Can you comment on this statement?

A: The Libyans and the Iranians had their own programs and motives. Naturally, if they had had nuclear weapons, Israel would not have been occupying Arab lands for 40 years and killing Palestinians armed only with stones. Is it all right for the Israelis to have nuclear weapons but not for their neighbours to have the same? Allow me to point out that the IAEA/CIA never conducted any interviews with any Pakistani scientists from KRL. As far as Pakistan's nuclear program was concerned, it was not a question of ideology, but a question of survival and saving the dignity of the country. No people on earth have suffered so much torture, death and destruction as the Palestinians. If the US, UK, France, etc. had been serious about the matter, it could have been solved within a matter of weeks, but they didn't want it solved. They wanted the same to happen to us at the hands of the Indians. Why do you think the US has a specific nuclear agreement with India? Their designs were frustrated by our nuclear capability, hence I became the bad guy - the spoiler.

Q: On several occasions you have stated that you have no doubts why you and Pakistan have been singled out for international condemnation. You mentioned two reasons: a) because Muslims were the only religion that threatened Western civilization; and b) because you broke the monopoly of the West. Can you explain in more detail?

A: I still stand by those two statements. Yes, Muslims had shaken the very foundations of Western civilisation through their exemplary character, equality, absence of any discrimination, simple way of life and a clear, easily understandable message through the Quran providing a complete code of life. This was the basis of the Crusades. Unfortunately, as George Bernard Shaw (a famous British writer) said, Islam was the best religion, but the Muslims were the worst followers. Fundamentalism and fanaticism were adopted by a minority and soon distorted the image of Islam.

Yes, the Western world, especially the USA, could never ever have considered the possibility that a backward, Muslim country like Pakistan, which could not even produce bicycle chains, ordinary ball bearings, sewing needles or durable roads, was able to make a breakthrough in the most advanced and complicated technology of uranium enrichment. It also meant the end to their ability to blackmail us. Unfortunately, there is a general hatred, consciously or unconsciously, against Muslims in the Christian world. We all saw how almost 250,000 innocent people were murdered in Bosnia before the eyes of "civilized" Christians. For 60 years Palestinians are being killed with no protest from the Christian world. One million Iraqi Muslims have been murdered under false and fabricated accusations of possessing weapons of mass destruction. More than a million Afghans have been killed without any tangible proof of their involvement in 9/11. However, when Indonesia tried to suppress the Christians of East Timor, the whole Christian world forced it to give up its independence. Even more unfortunate is the fact that almost the whole blame for most of these events goes to the corrupt, spineless Muslim rulers for not standing up to these injustices. One month's oil embargo could force the USA and the Western World to enforce an equitable solution in Palestine, but 8 years of rule by Pres. Reagan, 4 years of Pres. Bush the elder, 8 years of Pres. Clinton and 8 years of Pres. Bush the younger have passed with promises of a Palestinian Homeland without anything materializing. The aim all along has been to allow Israel to build more settlements and occupy more Palestinian land. This attitude can be traced back to Muslim conquests of Eastern Europe, Spain, etc. The spirit of the Crusades has never died. It always appears in one form or another against Muslims. I am a moderate Muslim, have a European wife, don't hate or profess against Western countries or Christianity, but I can't shut my eyes to what has happened in the past and is still happening today to Muslims and Islamic countries. I lived in Europe for 15 years and received higher education there and nobody can accuse me of having conservative or orthodox ideas.

Interview conducted by Urs Gehriger of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche.