Court seeks to restrict Khan's movement

Jan. 20, 2010 at 12:13 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The Pakistani government has asked the Lahore high court to restrict the free movement of nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan on national security grounds.

In a petition filed Tuesday, the government said national security would be threatened if Khan is allowed to live as a free citizen after being under house arrest, alleging the scientist had shared sensitive information with international media, Dawn reported. The petition asked that Khan be kept under surveillance and have a security escort assigned to him.

"Mr. Khan should be prevented from giving interviews, meeting people and moving around without security clearance," the Press Trust of India quoted the government petition as saying.

Government counsel Ahmer Bilal Soofi was quoted as saying articles in local and foreign media had quoted sensitive information about the country's nuclear program and such articles were designed to damage Pakistan's image.

The Times of India reported the decision on filing the petition was taken last Friday at a high level meeting of Pakistan's security institutions. The court has given Khan until Monday to reply to the petition, Daily Times reported.

Khan, regarded by the Pakistani people as the father of their country's nuclear weapons program, was released last year after being kept under house arrest for five years. Khan had admitted selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea but was never charged and the Pakistani government led by former President Pervez Musharraf never allowed international officials to question him.

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