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Pakistan to control AQ Khan movements: US official

world Updated: Feb 10, 2009 00:58 IST

AFP
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Pakistan has told the United States it will control at least some of the movements of freed scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to prevent him from becoming a nuclear proliferation threat, a US official said Monday.

Pakistani government officials gave assurances about Khan to Anne Patterson, the US ambassador to Pakistan, during a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday, a State Deparatment official told reporters on the condition of anomynity.

"Whatever it is that they decide in terms of putting additional restrictions on his (Khan's) movements, we will have to see," the official said.

"I understand that he has to notify (his) government 48 hours in advance if he wants to travel outside of Islambad. That's one of the things they've communicated to us," according to the official.

"I'm sure there's more that the Pakistanis can do, and we expect and hope that they will do more to make sure that he is no longer a proliferation risk."

The official said Washington was still skeptical about how far the Pakistani authorities would go to follow through on their assurances.

"We want to make sure these assurances are solid and that they can explain to us as to how they plan to do so," the official said.

Khan, 72, was freed by a court on Friday.

He had been under a virtual house arrest in Islamabad since February 2004, when he publicly confessed to sending nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, although he later retracted his remarks.

In Islamabad on Saturday, a Pakistani foreign ministry statement sought to allay international concerns that Khan's release could lead to renewed nuclear proliferation.

A foreign ministry statement said Pakistan had dismantled the nuclear black market network allegedly operated by Khan, and shared its investigations with the International Atomic Energy Agency.