ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Saturday said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was the founder of the country’s nuclear programme, which guaranteed its defence and security.
The minister, in his comments on Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s allegation that nuclear technology was transferred on the orders of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, said that Shaheed
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had given nuclear technology to the country and missile technology as their efforts to make the country’s defence impregnable were known to all.
“Benazir Bhutto is not alive, and levelling such an allegation by Dr Qadeer is not fair,” Kaira said.
Both the father and the daughter had made strenuous endeavours for peace, development and prosperity in the world, especially in the Muslim countries while the present PPP government is also following their footsteps in promoting and strengthening ties with the world, including the Ummah, he added
Asim Yasin adds: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has rebutted Dr AQ Khan’s assertion that he transferred nuclear materials and technology to two countries on the orders of former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. It said it is disgusting that almost a decade later Dr Khan should be seeking to restore his image by seeking to lay the blame at the door of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto when the latter is no longer alive.
“But while one may pity the twists and turns of a guilt-laden conscience, it should not be forgotten that the stern laws of nature seldom pause for pity,” said PPP Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar while reacting to Dr A Q Khan’s interview in which he asserted that he transferred nuclear materials and technology to two countries on the orders of former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Babar said A Q Khan’s assertion is a belated and desperate attempt to wash the guilt of proliferating nuclear weapons by associating the name of Benazir Bhutto to lend a semblance of respectability to a crime that brought huge embarrassment to and inflicted incalculable damage on Pakistan.
Farhatullah Babar said that public memory was not so short as to forget the public apology tendered by AQ Khan on national television in February 2004 in which he acknowledged to nuclear proliferation and also admitted his guilt thus, “I have much to answer for it.”
Expressing “the deepest sense of sorrow, anguish and regret” over what he had done, Dr Khan had also admitted in his infamous TV appearance that “The investigation has established that many of the reported activities did occur and that these were inevitably initiated at my behest.”
Babar said that the so-called disclosure by Dr Khan at this point of time was a futile attempt to wash his guilt by seeking to associate Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in his crime.
He said Dr Khan would do well to re-read his February 2004 public statement on national television and remember that the words and sentences he uttered on that fateful day can never be recalled.
He said that Dr Khan now owed another public apology; this time to the soul of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and to her innumerable followers and admirers for hurling baseless and unfounded allegations against her.
Our correspondent adds from Lahore: Central leader of PML-N and party spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rashid has termed the revelations of Dr Qadeer about Nawaz Sharif regarding atomic explosions by Pakistan contrary to the facts and ‘ludicrous.’
Commenting on the recent interview of nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday said that so-called disclosure by Dr Khan after 14 years of the nuclear tests were ludicrous. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in Kazakhstan in connection with the ECO Summit Conference at the time of the atomic explosions by India on May 11, Rashid said.
Syed Mushahid Hussain (now Secretary General of PML-Q) had also repeatedly said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in response to India, had decided to conduct atomic explosions, he said and added that, on his return to Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif had met Pakistani scientists, including Dr AQ Khan, in this regard.
Terming the claim of Dr Qadeer that Pakistan could conduct atomic explosions within half-an-hour ridiculous, Pervaiz Rashid said that Dr Khan had ridiculed himself by talking of constructing a tunnel in the Chaghi mountains, shifting and installing sensitive scientific equipments there by hiding such activities from satellite and making foolproof arrangements for carrying out atomic explosions within half-an-hour.
Pervaiz Rashid said that the atomic explosion was not child’s play. As a result of the explosion, he added, Pakistan had to face the worst international pressure and economic sanctions. Therefore, for this purpose, wide-ranging consultation, building international opinion in our favour and taking friendly countries into confidence, was essential for which the period of more than two weeks was not enough, he said.
Rashid said that General Zaini and General Tommy Franks had admitted in their books that Nawaz Sharif was not ready to accept any pressure in this regard. There are dozens of interviews and speeches of Dr Qadeer in which he himself paid rich tributes to Nawaz Sharif regarding the atomic explosions, terming him a great leader of the Islamic World and had also disclosed the offer of millions of dollars by President Clinton for the personal accounts of Mian brothers for not conducting atomic explosions. Regarding the political strategy of PML-N after the February 18 elections, Senator Pervaiz Rashid said that Dr Qadeer did not understand that Nawaz Sharif and Muslim League-N were not doing the politics of power but of values, otherwise, it was not difficult to get the chairmanship of the senate or speakership of the National Assembly by compromising with Zardari. The PML-N had not hesitated to reject 13 important federal ministries on the violation of the Bhurban agreement, he said.
He said that the steps – such as the long march for restoration of judges; elimination of discretionary powers of the president through the 18th Amendment; restoration of a real parliamentary system; refusal of giving constitutional cover to the unconstitutional steps of dictator Musharraf; resistance of the NRO inside and outside the House; independent Election Commission; impartial caretaker set up at the federal and provincial level through the 20th Amendment – reflected the historical role of the PML-N which no sensitive person could deny.
He said that there were a number of corruption cases in the Supreme Court in which the Muslim League-N was a party. Was the dissolution of the PML-N government in Punjab and imposition of Governor’s Rule and disqualification of the Mian Brothers by the ‘Dogar Courts’ a reward of “friendly opposition? Senator Pervaiz Rashid asked.