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Pak opposition slams Musharraf for sacking Khan

February 01, 2004 18:56 IST
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Pakistan's opposition parties are furious at the sacking of top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan as adviser to Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali saying it was an insult and could jeopardise national security.

The government had sacked Khan on Saturday to 'facilitate' the investigation into the suspected sale of nuclear know-how to Iran and Libya.

The decision, which came after a meeting of the country's political and military leaders chaired by President Pervez Musharraf, shocked a nation accustomed to revering Khan as a hero.

"It is the ultimate insult to the people of Pakistan," senator Saadia Abbasi of exiled premier Nawaz Sharief's Pakistan Muslim League told a news agency.

Pakistan came out of nuclear closet during Sharief's rule in May 1998 by conducting nuclear tests.

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"The entire nation feels humiliated over the treatment being meted out to a national hero by the government," Abbasi said.

"There is a grave sense of loss personally and as a nation we feel that our backbone has been broken."

Leader of six-party Islamist alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Mian Muhammad Aslam said: "It is an attempt to make Pakistan practically insecure."

"MMA will raise this matter in parliament and also launch public protest to compel government to reverse disgraceful actions against our national heroes."

Aslam said, "The US and the western countries are too uncomfortable to see an Islamic country having nuclear capability."

"The present government lacks courage to stand up against external pressures, that is why it is acting against our national heroes and jeopardising the security of the country."

Meanwhile Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will address the nation over television after the Eid holidays next week to explain the need to crackdown against the father of the country's nuclear bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan and other scientists for allegedly proliferating nuclear technology to Iran and Libya.


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