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Pakistan denies it enabled North Korea test

Musharraf defends his country against suspicions that illegal nuclear proliferation by its scientist has enabled N Korea to carry out N-test.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 13:00 IST

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf defended his country on Wednesday against suspicions that illegal nuclear proliferation by a disgraced atomic scientist had enabled North Korea to carry out a nuclear test.

"This bomb (North Korea's test) is a plutonium bomb. We don't have a plutonium bomb. We are following a uranium route. That should answer your question," Musharraf told journalists at a news conference, following a dinner with the media to break fast.

Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted selling nuclear parts and secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea in early 2004, and has been under house arrest in Islamabad since.

Still admired by many Pakistanis as the father of the country's atomic bomb, Khan escaped more severe punishment, and the government has refused to allow US investigators to have direct access to him. It says it has shared all information.

The United States says it is confident that Khan's network has been dismantled, but it would like answers to a number of other questions.

In his recently published autobiography, Musharraf described how his suspicions had been aroused even before the CIA presented evidence to him of Khan's activities.

Musharraf said he ordered the search of a plane bound for North Korea, but believed that Khan must have been tipped off beforehand, as the search drew a blank.

First Published: Oct 12, 2006 00:52 IST