Co-chariman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, had told the United States (US) that he would hand over Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if “he had his way”.
A cable, sent by former US ambassador Anne Patterson on April 18, 2008 from Islamabad (reference no. 150415, reveals that the US had raised the issue of restrictions being lifted from AQ Khan. Zardari “alleged that false information was being leaked to embarrass the PPP”.
Zardari had also informed the US that former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had no decision making role on the AQ Khan issue and he had been told to stop making statements.
In a separate meeting, former President Pervez Musharraf had also assured the US ambassador that Pakistan had no plans to release AQ Khan.
”He knows what he did and accepted the consequences,” said Musharraf. Musharraf noted that he had taken the opportunity of briefing Foreign Minister Qureshi during their recent trip to China on the A.Q. Khan issue. At most, said Musharraf, Khan may for humanitarian purposes be allowed additional family visitations. But he will not be released.
Strategic Plans Divison (SDP) Khalid Kidwai also spoke to Patterson and said that he understood the concerns in case Khan was release, and also added that Khan remained a national hero and there was domestic political pressure coming from statements given by political parties.
The facts, said Kidwai, were clear — Khan had admitted his guilt and received a presidential pardon. Therefore, his legal status was that he was a free man. The GOP had been providing security for “”personal and national security”” reasons, but Khan had accepted this agreement voluntarily and had not challenged his restrictions to date. If he tried to walk out today, however, the GOP had no legal grounds to stop him.
Cable Referenced: WikiLeaks no. 150415
Correction: May 27, 2011
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the release date of the cable as April 18, 2011. The date has been corrected to April 18, 2008.
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