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Pak govt seeks to ban AQ Khan from giving media interviews

The Pakistan government today asked a court to direct disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan not to give media interviews citing a "conspiracy" against the country's strategic interests.

world Updated: Mar 22, 2010 22:31 IST

The Pakistan government today asked a court to direct disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan not to give media interviews citing a "conspiracy" against the country's strategic interests.

A plea to this effect was made in a petition filed by the federal government seeking restrictions on the free movement on Khan in the Lahore High Court which reserved its verdict till March 24.

The government has informed the court that several foreign journalists had mentioned in their articles that they were in direct or indirect communication with Khan.

These reporters also attributed sensitive information to Khan, the government said.

"There is a conspiracy against Pakistan's strategic interests and it is necessary to... take urgent measures in this regard," the government said in its application submitted to the court.

The government has demanded that Khan either deny or admit the claims made by the foreign journalists.

The government was angry by two articles published in The Washington Post recently that it claimed had "national security implications for Pakistan" as they contained allegations related to its sensitive atomic programme.

Earlier, the bench of the Lahore High Court directed lawyers representing Khan and the federal government to try to resolve the matter outside court.

The counsel for the two sides concluded their arguments during in-camera proceedings.

Lawyer Syed Ali Zafar represented Khan while Ahmar Bilal Sufi represented the federal government.

The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb admitted on television in 2004 that he leaked nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya, although he later retracted his remarks.

The US government has warned that Khan continues to be a nuclear proliferation risk.

74-year-old Khan's counsel challenged the government's allegations, saying he was being restricted even from meeting relatives and getting access to medical facility in the name of security arrangements.

The scientist has also said the ban on his free movement was against his fundamental rights.