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A Q Khan allowed to attend public functions

world Updated: Dec 03, 2010 14:48 IST

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Disgraced nuclear scientist A Q Khan has been allowed by Pakistani authorities to attend public functions after being kept in "protective custody" for the past six years following his acknowledgment that he ran a clandestine proliferation network.

Khan attended the convocation of a private university yesterday and was seen sitting on the dais alongside Education Minister Aseff Ahmed Ali.

Restrictions on Khan's movements were lifted by the Lahore High Court recently.

In recent weeks, he has been seen shopping in Kohsar Market.

However, he continues to be shadowed by security personnel who also maintain a watch on his residence in the heart of Islamabad.

"The court allowed me to move freely but due to old age and bad health, I spend most of the time at home," Khan told the media during yesterday's convocation.

He said, "the security personnel deployed at his residence did not allow most people to meet him."

Referring to a disclosure made in secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, Khan denied that he had been made an offer by the PML-N to become a member of the Senate or upper house of parliament.

"Neither do I want to become a Senator nor was I offered to become one," he said.

Khan parried questions about revelations by WikiLeaks that Western diplomats were concerned about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear assets.

Khan was put under house arrest in early 2004 after he admitted on state-run television to his role in a global proliferation network.

The government has said that Khan faces a threat to his life and his movements should be restricted.

One of the cables leaked by WikiLeaks quoted former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern at reports that the Pakistan government intended to release Khan from detention.

Rice directed American diplomats in Pakistan to pressure authorities to continue with the restrictions imposed on Khan.