I could have done a lot more for Pakistan but was prevented by Musharraf, says Dr. A.Q. Khan

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Dr. A.Q. Khan, the founder of Pakistan nuclear program (AN Photo)
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Dr. A.Q. Khan, the founder of Pakistan nuclear program (AN Photo)
Updated 22 June 2018
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I could have done a lot more for Pakistan but was prevented by Musharraf, says Dr. A.Q. Khan

  • India and Pakistan could live together in peace and harmony 'if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,' says Pakistan's top nuclear scientist
  • The safety and security system put in place by Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division is 'failsafe'

DUBAI: “All the Western countries are against any Muslim country having a nuclear capacity,” said Pakistan’s former nuclear scientist — popularly known as the ‘father’ of Pakistan’s atomic bomb — in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
“Never do you hear a word said about Israel’s nuclear program,” he said.
International community keeps raising concerns over the safety of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“The safety and security system which has been put in place by the SPD (Strategic Plans Division) is failsafe,” said Dr. Khan, in a reply to questions sent to him by email.
Dr. Khan stressed that Pakistan has “no evil designs against any country” and that the country’s nukes are purely for “self-defense” and deterrence, adding that in case of an aggression “there will be no concessions from Pakistan.”
Advocating Pakistan’s nuclear ambition, Dr. Khan said, “It has definitely protected Pakistan, not only from an aggressive India, but also from (foreign) adventurists.”
“We all know what happened to non-nuclear Pakistan in 1971. Since the early 1980s the world was aware that we had a nuclear program and neither India nor any other country has dared to touch us ... I gave Pakistan the capability of hitting back if it was attacked making any misadventure on the part of India fatal for both countries,” he said.
The two countries could live together in peace and harmony “if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,” he said.
As Pakistan heads toward the general election next month (July 25), Dr. Khan said that he has no political plans.
Dr. Khan dissolved his political party, Tahreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan (Movement for the Protection of Pakistan), after the 2013 election. “The formation of that party was at the insistence of many people and I gave them the opportunity to try. However, there were no good results.”
“Politics in Pakistan requires rolling banknotes,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan made public the assets of main electoral candidates in the 2018 elections, figures that have shown rich political leaders living lavish lifestyle.
Pakistan problems are caused by the “corrupt system and political inabilities” where leaders had most of their wealth stashed abroad and “little interest in safeguarding national interests,” Dr. Khan said.
“See how Gen. Musharraf, a military dictator, sold this country’s sovereignty to the West at a simple phone call from the US. For that, we have paid, and are still paying, a very heavy price.”
Dr. Khan alleged that he was sacked by Musharraf on a US whim at a time when he could have done much more for Pakistan.
“… Read what Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has said about that episode in his autobiography.” He said Musharraf “neutralized” him (Dr. A.Q. Khan) because President Bush wanted him to do so. “The country suffered because of it.”
In January 2004, Dr. Khan was summoned by the government for a debriefing on his alleged role in nuclear weapons technology proliferation after the US shared evidence with Pakistan. He confessed to the charges a month later and was put under official house arrest. He was released as a free man on Feb. 6, 2009, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
“I could have done a lot more for Pakistan in the years after my retirement but was prevented from doing so by him (Musharraf). Now he himself is in disgrace while the nation still honors me,” said the 83-year old former nuclear physicist, recalling his sacking.
Dr. Khan, who visited North Korea before under a missile program mission by Pakistan, believes that the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore will not definitely lead to Pyongyang’s denuclearization. “North Koreans are very pragmatic,” he said.
“As long as US troops are in Japan and South Korea, North Korea will not freeze or abandon its nuclear program.”
Both the US and North Korea are trying to get the best out of the situation — President Trump looking for a Nobel Prize for Peace and the North Korean President recognition as a world leader, he said.


Korean border troops check removal of each other’s posts

Updated 13 min 38 sec ago
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Korean border troops check removal of each other’s posts

  • The two Koreas have each dismantled or disarmed 11 of their guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone that forms their 248-km-long, 4-km -wide border
  • The Demilitarized Zone was originally created as a buffer between the countries at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War

INSIDE THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE: Dozens of South Korean soldiers visited former front-line North Korean guard posts on Wednesday to verify their recent removal as part of warming diplomacy by the rival Koreas while US-North Korea nuclear disarmament efforts remain stalled.
The two Koreas have each dismantled or disarmed 11 of their guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone that forms their 248-kilometer (155-mile) -long, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) -wide border. The removals will leave South Korea with about 50 other DMZ posts and North Korea with 150, according to defense experts in South Korea.
A small group of journalists was allowed to enter the zone to watch a South Korean team leave for a North Korean guard post on Wednesday morning to verify its destruction. North Korean teams wre also going to verify the work on the South Korean side of the zone later Wednesday.
Seven helmeted South Korean soldiers wearing backpacks, one carrying a camera and another a camcorder, approached the line separating the north and south sides of the DMZ. North Korean troops then walked in a row down a hill to meet them. The soldiers from the rival Koreas exchanged handshakes before moving up the hill together to go to the dismantled North Korean guard post.
Other groups of South Korean soldiers were simultaneously visiting 10 other North Korean guard posts. They inspected whether the guard posts and any underground structures have been completely dismantled and whether all troops, weapons and other equipment have been withdrawn, according to Seoul’s Defense Ministry.
The Demilitarized Zone was originally created as a buffer between the countries at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. But contrary to its name, the DMZ has become the world’s most heavily fortified frontier after the rival Koreas planted an estimated 2 million mines, deployed combat troops and heavy weapons and set up layers of barbed wire fences.
When the leaders of the Koreas met in Pyongyang in September, they agreed to lower military tensions along their border, including the withdrawal of some DMZ guard posts, halting live-fire exercises near the border, demilitarizing their shared border village of Panmunjom and removing mines at a DMZ area to launch joint searches for Korean War dead.
Conservatives in South Korea have criticized the deals, saying Seoul shouldn’t have agreed to such conventional arms reduction programs because North Korea’s nuclear threat remains unchanged.
US-led nuclear diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear program has reported little progress since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump met for a summit in Singapore in June. North Korea has made a vague disarmament pledge, and some experts say the North’s turn to diplomacy after last year’s string of weapons tests is aimed to weaken US-led sanctions.