Nuclear-armed Pakistan takes over as chair of IAEA board | world | Hindustan Times
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Nuclear-armed Pakistan takes over as chair of IAEA board

world Updated: Sep 27, 2010 21:31 IST

Seen by many as a rogue nuclear state, Pakistan on Monday ironically became the head of the governing body of the UN nuclear watchdog--International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In an election at a special one-day meeting in Vienna, IAEA's 35-member board of governors appointed Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's head, Ansar Parvez, as its chairman for the next one year. The Board is the most important policy-making body after the 151-nation general conference.

Observers in New Delhi did not attach undue importance to the development saying the post was rotating and Pakistan's candidature was endorsed by the Asian block. India had twice chaired the Board of Governors and Pakistan had done in once in the past.

Pakistan has taken over the chair the main role of which is to preside over debates and helping the Board of Governors reach consensus decisions, from Malaysia.

According to reports from Vienna, some experts see Pakistan as a potential problem because it was home to a nuclear-smuggling ring run by scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb and a national hero.

Khan had publicly confessed in 2004 that he shared atomic secrets with Iran, Libya and North Korea, although he later retracted his remarks.

There is also concern over the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and stockpile of weapons-grade material and the danger of their falling into the hands of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents, according to reports.