Subjects: Asia news
Days before the Big O’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke was scheduled to visit Islamabad, a Pakistani court released Abdul Qadeer Khan from house arrest.
He’d been living that way since 2004 after confessing to being top dog in the world’s largest nuclear black market.
Khan’s not going to be invited to many cocktail partys in the West, which reviles him as the man who sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. But Pakistanis revere the man. After all, he built their bomb.
The Pakistani press had been skewering President Asif Ali Zardari for cozying up to the US, so most viewed Khan’s release as politically motivated.
Fans and paparazzi mobbed the visibly elated Khan as he strode forth, not the least bit contrite and feigning disinterest in what the West might think about his release.
“Are they happy with our God? Are they happy with our prophet? Are they happy with our leaders? Never, so why should we bother what they say about us?” he told the New York Times.
Many Washington officials think Khan can reactivate his nuclear network, since it was never completely dismantled.
Why just awhile ago, computers seized from that network were found to contain 3 different designs for a nuclear bomb including one from China and 2 from Pakistan’s own nuclear blueprints.
“He’s still a proliferation threat,” State Department Robert Wood told the Times. “We’re very troubled by this.”
“The key question,” a Bush administration official said last year, “is whether he gave (those) designs to the Iranians.”
Of the 3 pirated designs, one was particularly compact and efficient; the sort that could be delivered by a Shahab-3 missile anywhere Iran aimed it within a 2,000 mile radius.