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Pak atomic programme still on: scientist

world Updated: Dec 20, 2007 16:35 IST

Pakistan's nuclear programme has not been capped and the removal of scientist AQ Khan did not mean the government planned a roll back, a top scientist has said.

Samar Mubarakmand, Chairman of the National Engineering and Scientific Commission, dispelled the impression that Pakistan's atomic programme had been capped.

He also refuted the impression that disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan had headed the team that carried out Pakistan's nuclear tests in May 1998.

Mubarakmand told Geo TV that he led the team which conducted the blasts and that Khan was not even a member of that team.

Khan is currently under house arrest in Islamabad after he confessed to heading a clandestine proliferation network that sold nuclear know-how and equipment to countries like Libya and North Korea.

Asked what would happen if terrorists managed to capture Pakistan's nuclear weapons, Mubarakmand said no one could use "nuclear weapons as their launching required a very complex technical system, including a code". He said Pakistan was capable of safeguarding its weapons.

In the face of international concerns about the safety of Pakistan's strategic assets due to the political uncertainty in the country, President Pervez Musharraf has repeatedly asserted in recent days that his government has put in place an effective command and control system for the nuclear arsenal.