U.S. wary of limits on Pakistani scientist

Feb. 9, 2009 at 8:47 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. officials voiced doubt about Pakistan's decision to limit Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan's movements after releasing him from house arrest.

Khan, released Friday from five years of house arrest for selling nuclear secrets, will have his telephone calls, visitors and activities monitored and limited and will be barred from traveling outside of Pakistan, The Washington Post reported Monday.

U.S. officials expressed skepticism about the arrangement, which they said was relayed to them by the Pakistani government.

Pakistan has "given us some initial commitments but we're going to be following (the situation) very closely," one official told the Post. "The important thing is that they know we are still very serious about this individual."

Khan, 72, considered the father of the nuclear weapons program in Pakistan, admitted selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea but was never charged, the Post said. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf convinced Khan to make a public confession, then pardoned the scientist and refused to allow international officials to question him.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government won't appeal the court ruling on Khan's release.

"We have broken the network and we will not let that happen again," he said.

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