The father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has claimed that Pakistan had the ability and had planned to conduct a nuclear test in 1984 but the then President General Zia Haq “opposed the move”.
Khan also asserted that Pakistan has the ability to target Indian capital New Delhi from Kahuta near Rawalpindi in five minutes.
“We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984 but then President General Zia had opposed the move,” Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted the Pakistani scientist as saying.
General Zia was of the opinion that the world would stop military aid if Pakistan opted for the nuclear test, Khan added.
“Without my services Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim nuclear nation. We were able to achieve the capability under very tough circumstances, but we did it,” said Khan while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Youm-i-Takbeer on Saturday (the day Pakistan became a nuclear power state). Pakistan conducted nuclear test on May 28, 1998.
Referring to the treatment meted out to him during Musharraf’s rule, Khan said nuclear scientists in the country have not been given the respect that they deserve.
“We are facing the worst against our services to the country’s nuclear programme,” he added.
Abdul Qadeer Khan was at the centre of a massive global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004.
In a series of dramatic developments, he was accused by then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material. Shortly after Musharraf’s announcement, a recorded confession by Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.
Dr Khan’s family was recently named in the Panama Papers leak that mentioned four of his relatives as owners of an offshore company in the Bahamas.
Khan’s brother Abdul Quyuim Khan, wife Hendrina, and two daughters -- Dina and Ayesha -- were all shown as owners of Wahdat Ltd, a company registered in the Bahamas, according to the Dawn newspaper.