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The Fallen Angel

23 January, 2006

By Sohail Iqbal


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The Hill Side road at the foot of Margalla hills in sector E-7 in Islamabad is a thoroughfare with safety bumps on the road to slow the traffic flow. No one is allowed to halt the vehicle as vigilant security staff posted in and around Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan`s residence keep the flow of traffic in motion.

 Khan, known for providing Pakistan with the means of producing nuclear weapons, is struggling with his deteriorating health, isolated in a spacious single-story house near the Faisal mosque.

  A. Q Khan`s official career came to an abrupt end in March 2001, when he and PAEC Chairman Ishfaq Ahmed were suddenly retired by order of President Pervez Musharraf. Khan played a key role in developing Pakistan`s nuclear bomb. He was later detained after he confessed that he sold weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

  The `Father of Pakistan`s Bomb,` Dr A. Q Khan has been under protective custody (house detention) for more than two years now, living with his Dutch wife Hendrina under heavily guarded security of Pakistan army.

  The health of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan is believed to be failing, as he is continuously suffering from high blood pressure. During the initial months of his detention, he also suffered a mild heart attack. The current deterioration in his health crisis is definitely a result of acute mental pressure and virtual emotional torture to which he is being subjected to.

  The facilities for Dr Khan`s treatment are not consistent. During the initial days of his detention, Khan was allowed a regular medical check up by family medical doctor of KRL Hospital, which itself was founded by Dr Khan. However, with the passage of time, the authorities withdrew the facility of family doctor and Khan was left with no option but to depend on the services of a medical doctor from the army hospital at Rawalpindi. Seldom and during odd hours, Khan is allowed medical checkups at this military hospital.

  Khan, who is now consuming most of his time in isolation, trying to keep himself busy through reading and writing, was in a habit of keeping pets and used to take a sack full of pets` food each day when he walked into the wooded Margalla Hills across from his home, to feed  the monkeys.

  So much has changed since Khan was disgraced. Before Khan faced the  hammer, a retired Brigadier used to shop for food of his pets. Today his personal attendant for long years shops for Khan`s food, and that also after through security checks.

  Khan`s only source of pleasure is occasional meeting with his younger daughter, Aysha, and her kids Sasha, (10-Years), Aleena (8-Years) and Shanaya (6-years). Khan`s elder daughter Dina who is living in the UK occasionally visits her father in detention along with her daughter  Tanya (13-Years).

  Though two daughters and grand daughters are free to meet Khan one them almost daily-some time, even they have to seek permission to meet their father. Quite often, the permission is granted after a gap of a week or so by the officer-in-charge of the security. The military officer with his security staff is stationed at a guest house adjacent to Dr. Khan`s residence and is authorized by the "high-ups" to "manage" each and every telephone call besides regulating meetings of family members.

  Khan is arguably the most popular and charismatic Pakistani alive. His aura has loomed like a titan over Pakistan, ever since Pakistan exploded its nuclear bombs on May 28 and 30, 1998, in the mountains of Chaghai, Balochistan, close to the border with Iran, in response to its arch-rival India`s gratuitous nuclear blast of three weeks earlier. He won the heart of every Pakistani, young and old, for having armed the country with a credible deterrent against India`s nuclear demon. Dr. Qadeer was seen as Pakistan`s savior, guaranteeing its territorial integrity against a rapacious India

  In Pakistan, Khan is also respected as gracious figure as he was kind enough to support community welfare projects and charity organizations across the country. From education to child welfare, he was engaged in almost every sort of civil society activity potentially beneficial to Pakistanis. Rightly so, he was a considered a grand figure, not just by the people of this country but the populace of the entire Muslim world.

  A resident of Khan`s locality who choose not to be named told Paktribune that different entrepreneurs, prosperous groups and common citizen of Pakistan had blind faith and trust on Khan and they used to donate million of rupees for welfare projects being supported by the nuclear scientist. "What an irony! A national icon who shares co-equal status with Jinnah, Pakistan`s founder, is facing a trial of a crime that he never committed," commented a resident of Sector E/7, Islamabad.

  It was the Indians who did not like him for obvious reasons. Or, it was the United States and the Western world, where his image was not that great. Again for obvious reasons! For years, they portrayed Khan`s single-handed nuclear pursuit as leading to the development of dangerous kind of A-bomb  an "Islamic Bomb," as the Western authors, toeing the Israel`s decades-long consistent theme on Pakistan`s nuclear quest, called it.

  Back in the 70`s, especially after the so called Peaceful Nuclear Explosion by India in 1974, Pakistan`s nuclear programme was in a budding stage. Dr Khan was then living in Holland, working as a nuclear scientist. He abandoned the West, returned to his beloved homeland. It was the former prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who had invited Khan to come to the rescue of his country after the first Indian nuclear explosion in the desert of Rajhastan After contributing for almost three decades to help ensure Pakistan`s very survival as an independent nation vis--vis India`s ever growing desire to dominate it, as well as the rest of South Asia living a life of near-seclusion must be a painful experience. And, that also, in his own homeland! The ironies in Dr Khan`s tale are many, each one more tragic than the other.

  Ever since Dr Khan admitted at the start of 2001, in a nationally televised interview, that he sold nuclear technology for a price, the West`s intelligence hounds have been on his tail, seeking every opportunity to interrogate him. The interrogation hasn`t ended, as he is being consistently forced to answer questions, no different from previous questions, by intelligence sleuths, allegedly even "from across the Atlantic," as some sources confide . However, for now, one thing is for sure, say Pakistani security officials: He won`t be handed over to the U.S. or any other country because he may spill secrets regarding transfer of nuclear technology that have so far been hooded in mystery.

  Should a country treat its leading hero, a living legend, in such a calous fashion? Does he desrive isolation? Don`t we, as a nation, have the guts to stand up to external pressures to keep such an icon in chains? Such are the questions that people of the locality, or those who knew this most popular, yet most humble, Pakistani personality, or his tremendous contribution to national security.

End.

Reader Comments:

A Q Khan

Alas, the irony of this nuclear "scientist' is that no brilliant invention is credited to his name. All he fostered was a sense of end-justifies-the-means, which earned him a hero status in Pakistan. Whether his "research" has doen anything to truly make Pakistan safer is a debatable point. Unfortunately, the main threat to Pakistan is internal instability, which no nuclear weapon can prevent or overcome.

Dennis Dey, United Kingdom - 23 January, 2006

"Angel"of Death

A Q Khan could have been referred to as an 'angel' had he stuck to only providing Pakistan the means to the bomb. But he chose to share this with others and help make the world a more unsafe place. Was it greed or part of a wider plan by Pakistan to proliferate is a question that will always beg an answer. The bottom line is A Q Khan has been sacrificed. Whether rightly or wrongly its upto the Pakistani people and establishment to judge. The world has already passed its judgement.

aarvey, Hungary - 24 January, 2006

angel or menace

He most probably qualify to be mechant of menace

martin p, Pakistan - 24 January, 2006

very tragic

its very tragic story.he is a human being.May be he made a mistake.But isolating a person is bad than death sentence.He must be allowed to meet near and dear ones. He may be asked to retire from nuclear things and try to work on peace and humanity related projects so that there is lesser dangers in the society.

sunny, Hungary - 24 January, 2006

Faulty Towers!

Dr Khan's fault is that he is
a Muslim and therefore in the
eyes of West a terrorist.Had
he not been a Muslim and done
what he was forced to admit.
He would have been welcomed
with honor.

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 25 January, 2006

The USA proliferited the nuclear technology to Israel, making the whole mideast unstable. Americans should investigate their own disgraced and criminal scientists first. Lets start with Truman who slaughtered innocent Japanese civilians with nuclear attacks when there was no need for it!




Imran Siddiqui, Canada - 25 January, 2006

angel for the muslim world

The question is who's world. Georg Bush's world. Wo gives damn? We muslims have our own world. We should think first what works better for us. Dr Qadeer is not hero of Pakistan only but all muslim world and will remain so for ever. He did exactly in the mulsim world what the western leaders and scientists did for judaic-christain world. Hindu India would have done the same if there were other hindu countries. So those so called leaders of the nuke free world better first check their ss before the call Mr Khan a terrorist because their ss is as red as his.

amin, Pakistan - 25 January, 2006

Its all about our self integrity. Us Pakistanis prefer to fill our pocket and party all day and night. We curse our own country but no one has a clue that they are the one who ruin their own country. If we had little bit of pride Dr A Q Khan wouldn't be here. Our government would have stand up for him.Unfortunately we gonna give his respect back whenhe wont be with us.

Ali, United Arab Emirates - 25 January, 2006

AQK crisis ! WHY ?

Who you are kidding fallen Angel AQK?
Nuke idea was to prevent Iraq oilfields invasion. Same Armed Force never left
Iraq Pakistan or Afghanistan.No WMD were found no Osama Bin Ladin was
Located .With increased NATO forces with Russia India army training for Iran
Oil invasion coming via Baku ,Georgia ,Armenia ,India ,Turkey amid massive
Foreign army dispatches to Afghanistan to combat Islamic Taliban(student)
followers!


Z.Billo, Pakistan - 26 January, 2006

The Fallen Angel

There is hardly any doubt that some polticians and people of Pakistan are greedy and corrupt but there are still lot of them who love their country and also got very high regard for Dr. A. Khan. As far as government is concered it stood soulder by shoulder and did give all the support needed to the Scientist.He is a hero and will remain all the time. One should not doubt at all that Government did not look after Dr. Khan. All the necessary protection and respect is given to Dr. Khan and for his own safety measures needed were taken by the Government of Pakistan. Moreover he did nothing wrong and was guilt of nothing. He is a free and respectable man in and outside Pakistan. Look at the news of tay an ex Prime Mininster whose Red Notice are issued by Interpole. What a tragedy to that family. They did their own graves with the money extorted from the treasury. BB is going to pay a price which perhaps might not be in commensurate with her crimes.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 26 January, 2006

Martin.P You speak for yourselbeing Christian in Pakistan against Dr.Qadeer

Dr.Qadeer A-Bomb is Muslim's Bomb ISLAMIC-BOMB against The Firstly Christian-A-Bomb used by America in Heroshima and Nagesaki ofcourse Martin.P does NOT Like ISLAMIC-BOMB because is No More DEPENDENT on The WEST Assistance in terms of Pakistan-Self-Defence more over Europe Has Never HELPED Pakistan in 1965 or 1971 Wars and rather The WEST had Blocked The Sea-Passage so as that No-Help could be Reached to Pakistan from The Out-Side WORLD Like America did in Bosnia against The Muslims whom Had No-Weapons in Self-Defence under The Siege of Serbs and Croawats and No-Help could Reach Them Iranian-Arms were Intercepted in The International Waters which is also The Sea-Piracy and also Weapons-Delivery Ship was Held in Reaching Arms for The Palestinians thus The Answer to all such Historical Facts is The Pakistan-A-Bomb which is The Muslim-A-Bomb against The Christian-A-Bomb and Hidu-A-Bomb and Jewish-A-Bomb in SELF-DEFENCE The ISLAMIC-A-BOMB. Martin.P You speak for yourself being Christian in Pakistan against dr.Qadeer.
Written by Mr.F.Koch(IPN)

Mr.F.Koch, Netherlands - 27 January, 2006

scientist, my foot !

A Q Khan should be thankful to CIA that he escaped to live a life for another 20 years and is still living in his home. If not CIA, he would have been in a Dutch jail all his life since 1975 when he would have been arrested on spying charges and was later convicted in 1983 in absentia.

there is a difference between scientist and a conduit. ever understand why India's nuclear and missile program is treated as genuine by world over, while the same credence is not given to Pak's program. wake up and tell the truth, stop spreading the message that the world is against muslims.

Chan, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

Wrong

Most of the countries in the world acquired N-tech through the nuclear black market. I would like to ask the author of this article to bring up this point: Why should Pakistan be held to the wrong/different standards? Why not other countries who stole/sold it to other countries.
Standing upto the West will not be easy because as country and as a region, the economic dependancy is tremendous.

Jamshaid, Pakistan - 27 January, 2006

Question FOR EVERYONE

Considering 9/11's mysteries, US's knowledge of aq khan network for such a longtime and their intentions in Iraq: Was it good for the network to be broken? Should Pakistan be held to different standards like other countries who have acquired nuclear tech.?

Asif, Pakistan - 28 January, 2006

Is this any way to treat a hero?

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan gsve Pakistan a technology guaranteeing freedom from foreign invasion. Why such a national hero would be kept under strict detention smacks of supreme ingrattitude by the State he so valiently served.

Ya`akov N. Miles, Canada - 28 January, 2006

Asif ,Aq Khan, 9/11 muslim trade

Why 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq without
WMD amid AQK crisis and direct finger
Pointing on Ag Khan of Tanzania Uganda. Please
Explain why As if .. ? Bush Blair army still in Iraq
Afghanistan and around Iran are ready to order
Invasion or intend to run OIC world's specific trade
As they seem to be doing? This is illicit 9/11 was
Was from Saudi Arabia. I had personally interviewed
Them and questioned their presence there 1976-2006 with
Hajj tent burning stampede in Kaba area and 2 stampedes
In Mina.


benz m Ispahani, India - 30 January, 2006

Chan or Should I say Chander Mohan, are you reading the responses to your senseless comments. First of all you are not libberal you are just any other hateful Indian who always try to sound liberal but can`t help their mentality. Chan doesn`t make you what you are not. Where India got her nukes? , have you any idea. If you don't I will refresh your memory, she got it by supporting Communism. They also cheated Canadian government on secretly transferring their peaceful nuclear imports into atomic energy, that's why for a long time Indo-Canadian relations were muted. So, pls don`t get exited. You need some studding. One more thing, CIA can`t scare Muslims, you should know it better by now. It needs guts and dedication for a person who single handedly make his country a nuclear power. For others like yours had to beg and bent.


Qureshi, Pakistan - 31 January, 2006

I agree with benz, Saudis are playing a sleeping partners role with Bush company. Sadis actually want to remain dominat in muslim middle east. Iran being Shia Muslim but pottentailly much powerful and influenctail to become dominat on the muslim world. Saudis, Kuwaitess, Qatrees are players behind this game. they are also equally responsible for Iraq's destruction.

Noor, Pakistan - 31 January, 2006

lets talk facts again !

you didn't guessed my name right, but thats fine. We Indians and Pak (believe it or not you have the same DNA), tend to make individuals hero for no good cause.

just like there were people in India who were shouting "Indira is India", you had people in Pak procaliming AQ as father of Pak nuclear bomb. If you do a little google, you will know that AQ labs were working on atomic bomb, but the bombs that pak detonated were chinese supplied. all this AQ thing came public only when the world, looking at the progress of Pak atomic bomb, starting doubting that their nuclear program was externally supported.

now lets not get excited about whether muslims can be scared or not. I only wish to ask what would muslims do if dutch would have put AQ Khan behind bars in 1975 after proving his crime in a court of law.

and what is it now if not scared that supposedly the father of pak atomic bomb is under house arrest in his own country. compare that to the fact that father of Indian missile systems is the president of his country.

The world has made a one time exception for the Indians to join the elite club of nuclear powers only because the world recognizes that Indian have reached the milestone on their own and Indians will be a trustworthy and responsible partner on road to nuclear co-operation.

Chan, United Kingdom - 02 February, 2006

saudis kuwaitis qataris

And I agree with Noor about Saudis Kuwaitiis
Qataris and their wine bottle mfr.In one mina
Stampede there was one stone column to be stoned.
(I have video of cause of stampede)Current one
with 3 original stoned with stampede.In Iraq's
Kuwait Invasion and reinvasion,Taif bashing
was told While nawaz had sent his army.This 3 pillar
Bashing in Mina could this be above 3 countries amid
Hadith of Jesus mentioned with fire arising Near
Qatar-yemen area ? This is not attack on sheiks
But I am seeking important analysis.


zakaria_belal, Canada - 02 February, 2006

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