Pak top brass aware of Khan's dealings

Despite denials by the Pak government, investigators now are certain that some of the country's decision makers were aware of Khan's dealings.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2004 15:00 IST

Despite denials by the Pakistani government, investigators now are certain that some, if not all, of the country's decision makers were aware of Khan's dealings, especially with North Korea, which apparently helped Islamabad build missiles in exchange for help with its nuclear arms program, said one of the diplomats.

"In Pakistan, it's hard to believe all this happened under their noses and nobody knew about it," he said.

The diplomats didn't say which parts of the Pakistani government might have know of Khan's black market activity - military, political or both.

But Andrew Koch, of Jane's Defense Weekly, said he ran into evidence that senior military officers knew of Khan's sideline four years ago when he attended a military technology exhibition in Karachi. There, the booth of AQ Khan's Research Laboratories, complete with pamphlets offering uranium enrichment equipment, shared space with displays of electronics, anti-tank missiles and other items being sold by the government defense industry, he said.

"I picked up the (Khan) brochures and I inquired whether everything inside was for sale and was told, 'yes, of course, it all had government approval and was available for sale and export,'" he said from Washington.

Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, has insisted his government was not involved.

"The Pakistani government has never and will never proliferate," he told a meeting of world leaders in January in Davos, Switzerland, pledging to prosecute all "anti-state" elements found culpable.

First Published: Mar 08, 2004 13:37 IST