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AQ Khan network not totally closed down yet: US lawmaker

world Updated: Mar 17, 2009 09:36 IST

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A US lawmaker who introduced a legislation in the US Congress last week to pressure Pakistan to allow US officials access to its rogue scientist AQ Khan, asserted that his black nuclear market has not been closed down yet completely.

Appearing on the MSNBC news channel Congresswoman, Jane Harman, said she disagrees with the view that the AQ Khan nuclear network has totally been closed down.

In an interview to the CNN on Sunday, the former Vice President, Dick Cheney, had claimed success of the Bush Administration in closing down this network.

"I disagree," Harman, Chairwoman of House Homeland Security Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee, told MSNBC in her interview.

"I saw the classified evidence when I was Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee and I was never persuaded that we totally closed down his international arms bazaar,” she claimed.

Harman claimed that Khan’s network sold the secret nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, North Korea and Syria. "In Libya, we have shut down, but Iran and North Korea are as dangerous as they are because of the efforts of this man,” she said.

"We did arrest a lot of his (Khan’s) colleagues. He was under house arrest in Pakistan since 2004, but just a month ago, the Supreme Court of Pakistan let him out from house arrest and we have never been able to question this man and I think in terms of US interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is critical that we question him and that we have assurances that the Pakistanis have him totally monitored so that whatever is left of this network is thoroughly destroyed" Harman said.

"It’s not just the actual stuff in Pakistan, but this man was pursued by Europe for stealing nuclear secrets in Europe where he studied and they may call him a hero in Pakistan, but I think he’s a pariah internationally,” she added.

Last week Harman had introduced a legislation in the House of Representative to put conditions on financial aid to Pakistan, if the Government did not give the US access to interrogate Khan.