Report: Pakistani generals in illicit plot

July 8, 2011 at 9:31 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 8 (UPI) -- Two former Pakistani generals were implicated in the sale of uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in exchange for cash and gems, documents indicate.

The documents, which surfaced Thursday, indicate the generals sold the technology for millions of dollars in cash and jewels turned over in a canvas bag and hidden in boxes of fruit, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

The source of the documents is A.Q. Khan, father of Pakistan's nuclear program who confessed in 2004 to selling equipment and instructions for high-speed centrifuges to Libya, Iran and North Korea. Among excerpts published by the Washington Post was a letter purportedly from a senior North Korean official to Khan in 1998 detailing payment of $3 million to Pakistan's former army chief, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, and $500,000 to Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Khan, who was involved in Pakistan's nuclear bomb tests.

Both generals denied the allegations.

"What can I say. [These are] bits of old info packaged together. [There is] not an iota of truth in the allegations against me," Karamat said in an e-mail to The Guardian. "[There is] no reason on earth for anyone to pay me for something I could not deliver."

Lieutenant General Khan told the Post the documents were "a fabrication."

Seven years after A.Q. Khan confessed on Pakistani television, uncertainty remains among Western governments about whether he was a rogue operative or acting on behalf of the Pakistani government and its army, The Guardian said. Western officials also have expressed uncertainty about whether covert nuclear sales continue.

In an interview with the Post, senior U.S. officials said that the document had "accurate details of sensitive matters known only to a handful of people in Pakistan, North Korea and the United States."

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